This week, I thought I’d offer some kitchen tips and tricks to start off the new year.

Some of them you may already know, but perhaps there are a few new tricks you can add to your skill set!

How Many Appetizers to Make

•The average person will eat 10-12 mouthfuls if a meal is not served. In the event a meal is served, the average person will eat 4-5 mouthfuls.

Hot Water for Ice Cubes

•Boiling water will freeze faster than cold water. The hot water will evaporate faster than cold water, leaving less water to freeze. Also, the evaporation creates an air current over the ice tray, which creates a cooling effect.

Plain or Self-rising Flour - How Can You Tell

•Plain flour has no taste. Self-rising will taste salty.

Poppy Seed Muffins Can Give You a Positive Drug Test

•Poppy seeds are derived from the poppies from which codeine and morphine are made. It may cause a positive urine test for opiates.

Cold Storage for Yeast

•Store yeast in the refrigerator; however, always allow the yeast to reach room temperature before using. This will give the yeast time to be become active again.

America’s Favorite Cookie

•Introduced in 1912, the Oreo Cookie is king. Each year an average of 2.5 billion are produced.

Try this easy soup recipe that serves six! It’s one of our winter favorites!

Butternut Squash Soup


1 (2- to 3-pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup diced celery

1 tablespoon butter

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup half and half (fat free)


Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fat free sour cream for topping


Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In a large pot melt butter, add squash, celery, onions and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Pour off some of the stock (discard) and add cream to the vegetables.

Place soup in a blender and puree or use a hand mixer. Return blended squash to pot. Stir in butter and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Swirl sour cream on top of each bowl of soup. Serve.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or

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