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TCP Kitchen

Lights! Camera! Snacktion!

Blockbuster idea: Hunker down for movie magic with healthy snacks, not a big bowl of buttered popcorn

The weather is cold, and the nights are long. Sounds like a perfect time to hunker down in front of the television and let some movie magic take you away for a couple of hours.

Whether it’s a family cartoon night with the kids or a romantic snuggle for two, food and films just seem to go together. Just look at the lines at the concession stand the next time you visit a cinema multiplex.

But at home, snacking as you watch a video doesn’t have to involve a big bowl of sweet stuff or a bowl of plain ol’ popcorn.

With a little preparation, you can enjoy a mini-meal or a healthier type of snack. Here are some ideas from the American Peanut Council for building a film-night menu.

The Texas Peanut Producers Board, which sponsored this month’s contest, offers a downloadable recipe book with some different entrée ideas. Look for it here

Gingered Peanut-Beef Potstickers

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Pinch hot pepper flakes
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
8 ounces lean ground beef
1/4 cup salted blanched peanuts, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
12 3-inch-square egg-roll wrappers
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Pinch salt

In small bowl, combine garlic, stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes and peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds on high; whisk until smooth. In separate bowl, mix together beef, peanuts, onion, ginger, salt and 3 tablespoons of peanut butter sauce. Reserve remaining sauce to serve with potstickers. Place 2 teaspoons of filling in center of egg-roll wrapper. Wet edges with water. Fold wrapper in half to enclose filling, pressing edges together to stick. Set on work surface seam side up; pleat seam and press potsticker gently into work surface so it will stand flat with pleated seam up. Repeat with remaining filling. In large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil over medium heat. Add half of potstickers, pinched side up, allowing space between each. Add enough water so potstickers are three-quarters covered. Cover pan and cook over high heat for about 6 minutes, or until water evaporates. There will be some floury oil left around base of potstickers. Uncover and cook over medium heat about 3 minutes, or until bottoms are golden and crusty. Transfer potstickers to serving dish, taking care not to tear them when removing them from pan. Repeat with remaining oil and potstickers. Serve warm with remaining peanut butter sauce.

Servings: 4. Serving size: 3 potstickers. Per serving: 382 calories, 20.4 g protein, 22.7 g fat, 21.9 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 797 mg sodium, 2.1 g sugars, 40 mg cholesterol

Spicy Roasted Peanuts with Green Onions

2 cups roasted peanuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Place peanuts and sugar in nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Stir until sugar starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drizzle oil on peanuts and add salt, five-spice powder and chili powder. Stir another 3 to 5 minutes, until sugar begins to harden and become crunchy. Remove from heat and add onion. Toss thoroughly and transfer to cookie sheet to cool.

Servings: 4. Serving size: 1/2 cup. Per serving: 583 calories, 18.1 g protein, 39.8 g fat, 43.5 g carbohydrates, 7.1 g dietary fiber, 911 mg sodium, 28.4 g sugars