Nutella Caramel Popcorn

26 Jun

Popcorn in general stirs up a lot of childhood memories.  My father insisted on popcorn every Sunday evening while we were growing up.  We had a special pan that we made it in and a special bowl that we ate it from.  The bowl had real butterflies embossed in the sides that mysteriously disappeared throughout the years.  My Dad especially liked caramel corn, but that was reserved for special treats.  Popcorn conjures up nights of lying on my parents California king bed with my four siblings watching the wonderful world of Disney.

In culinary school, while studying master chefs, we researched  their inspiration.  Often that defining moment for them involved home.  Whether that was mom or grandma or even dad….food that stirs up emotion moves us… any other art.

I was given the assignment this week to come up with 10 flavors of caramel corn from my life coach.  I stumbled upon this recipe for Nutella Caramel corn and decided to give it a whirl.  I had all of these ingredients lying around….and the Nutella was burning a hole in my cupboard….just calling to be used in some yummy treat again!

So I gave it a whirl!

If only I could stop eating at the  amount in the picture….all would be fine!

Nutella Caramel Corn

  • 4 quarts plain popped popcorn *
  • 6 T. butter
  • 1/2 C. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 3/4 C. Nutella spread
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. vanilla

Place popcorn in large roasting pan and preheat oven 250 degrees.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, Nutella, and salt, stirring to blend.  Bring to a boil, then boil five minutes while stirring constantly.  You will see large bubbles in the mixture.

Remove saucepan from heat, then stir in baking soda and vanilla until combined.  Mixture will become light and foamy.  Pour over popcorn, and mix with a spatula to coat.  You will be cooking & stirring the popcorn a few more times, so don’t be too concerned with covering all the corn fully at this point.

Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Line your counter top with a few sheets of waxed paper and dump corn out onto paper.  Being careful not to burn your fingers, separate the pieces as desired.  Store in large ziplock baggies.

*Note: 2/3 C. of un-popped popcorn should yield 4 quarts of popcorn for you.

This was awesome!  I added a little more salt than the original recipe and added a little more Nutella.  Honestly the Nutella flavor was not very prominent, but the addition made the Caramel Corn more rich and layered the flavor.  The effect was great and I will definitely make this a permanent addition to my recipe collection.

Recipe adapted from here.

Summer Gourmet Dinner on a Budget

23 Jun

This summer I am on a super tight budget.  With a teenage son and his girlfriend always looking to me for dinner, I am forever in search of a simple recipe with ingredients I have on hand.  I got a great deal on chicken the other night at Food for Less for 5 bone in skin on half-breasts.  So I knew I was going to cook chicken, I also had some left over strawberries and a head of butter lettuce….hmmmm sounds like the makings of a yummy summer salad right?  I did a little research on the net and found a recipe for a marinade/dressing with strawberries and balsamic vinegar, so I whipped that up and got to marinating.  I bake from my home for extra money, so always have odds and ends of interesting ingredients.  I found some roasted walnut/pecans and some blue cheese crumbles in the fridge and the rest is history!  This was a great tasting salad which still fit into my needs of keeping it healthy and light.

Strawberry Vinaigrette Marinade


3/4 lb Strawberries
1 cup Olive Oil
2 squeezes of agave or 1 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & White Pepper to taste (2-3 dashes)


Wash the strawberries, cut off the stems and cut in half. Place them in a Food Processor with the sugar. Pulse till smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients and lightly pulse. (I used the bullet)
NOTE: If you hit it hard once the oil is in (pulse a long time in the Food Processor), it will emulsify and become thick! That’s fine for a marinade, but not so great for a salad dressing. Keep that in mind.

Reserve half of the marinade for dressing for the salad.

Put your meat in a large zip-lock bag and cover in the mixture. Allow to marinate 4-6 hours in the fridge or Overnight.  I was pushed for time so let it marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Next I got out my Le Creuset grill pan and turned the heat up to high.  I sprayed with Pam olive oil spray and got to grilling.  It grilled for about 6-7 minutes each side until it was firm to the touch, but not hard.

I always let my chicken rest for a good minute before slicing on the bias.  Meanwhile I  threw the head of butter lettuce in the salad spinner and rinsed and spun it.  It’s always a good Idea to spin your greens so that the dressing can hold onto the leaf and the water does not saturate the taste.

I tossed the lettuce with the rest of the marinade/dressing that I reserved, put it in a bowl added some sliced strawberries, the chicken, blue cheese crumbles and toasted nuts and it was done!

Great flavor in the chicken and it made a perfect summer dinner.

Hello world!

14 Jun

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