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Pressure cookers are back.
Remember your mom or grandma using the heavyweight pots with seals and gauges?
The idea was to raise the cooking atmosphere to a temperature higher than boiling water and speed up the process of getting a meal on the table.
Today, pressure cookers are recommended for economical and/or fast cooking. They can tenderize a cheaper cut of meat or quickly cook beans.
By now, the chill of winter is starting to wear down even those who love the season – even with milder temps in recent days.
But soup for dinner can help ease the chill. And if you make it in the slow cooker, you'll have plenty of time for other activities.
CHAMPAIGN – The kids have been dropped off at their schools, the pizza dough is rising in the kitchen and there are three hours yet before customers start coming through the doors.
As it does for many, the Manzellas' day begins over cups of hot coffee.
Joe and Nickie Manzella, John and Cindy Manzella, Mary Manzella, and sometimes Frank and his wife, Ellen, gather around the tables or booths of their Italian restaurant.
Cold weather often calls for comfort food.
And comfort food like pancakes and pot roasts are on the menu at Uncle Jack's, one of the newest restaurants in Champaign.
CHAMPAIGN – WEFT 90.1 FM and the Eastern Illinois Foodbank will begin collaborating Monday on their second annual Radio Food Drive.
For every $10 donated to the community radio station, WEFT will donate $1 to the food bank, which in turn will buy up to $10 worth of food for families in need through its network of wholesale food distributors.
URBANA – Montana Mike's Steakhouse plans to open in Urbana this spring in the building that formerly housed Ned Kelly's Steakhouse and The Timbers restaurant.
Montana Mike's is a franchise steakhouse that prides itself on satisfying big appetites for good value, said Greg Schmidtknecht, who will co-own the restaurant with John Frenz.
FAIRMOUNT – Sleepy Creek Vineyards is offering several special events, plus its free Sunday coffee and a challenge to think about to make the cold weather a little more bearable.
First up, this weekend, at 7 p.m. Saturday is the Boulder Acoustic Society, a four-member group from Boulder, Colo. Tickets are $12 per person. Check out their music at www.boulderacousticsociety.net.
We're a long way from summer. But if you miss the tang of barbecue in the backyard, cook up a couple of these "sloppy" recipes, turn up the heat and appreciate the lack of mosquitoes. And we've even included a couple of vegetarian recipes for our readers who don't eat meat.
News-Gazette reader Diane Brown, an Urbana resident, incorporated some ingredients and her kids loved it. The result? Diane's Creation, a concoction of ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce and tortilla chips. It's versatile, too, Brown said.
"For people who don't eat meat, they can just make the recipe with the cheese listed in the ingredients," she said.