Slow Cooked: Tasty options to impress sweetheart this weekend

Spend more time with your sweetheart this weekend while cooking these sure-to-be delicious meals in your slow cooker.


Makes: Eight servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 6 1/4 to 8 1/4 hours

Ideal slow cooker size: 4-quart

2 slices lean turkey bacon, cut in squares

Peanuts, soybeans, other foods strike fear in those with allergies

Gwen Martens of Atwood has almost died three times because of her food allergies.

The first time was at a bank when she was 5 years old.

"Mom was in the middle of a transaction when someone cried out, 'That little girl is turning blue!'" Martens said. "That was my first trip to the ER – then, throughout childhood, trips to the hospital as they discovered I was also allergic to tree nuts."

Next, Martens was deprived for years of cow's milk and chocolate when her family feared she was allergic to those substances.

It's Your Business: Pauly's joins bevy of barbecue joints

East Central Illinois has one more place to savor locally smoked and barbecued meats.

Pauly's BBQ opened on Friday in the former Tom's Dairyland in Arthur.

Slow Cooked: Hot, simple dinner ideas to take chill off

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.

Pressure's on again: New generation using cooker

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.

Tried and True: Colleen Pihl's cream cheese brownies

"This is probably the most asked for recipe in my recipe file," writes Colleen Pihl of Champaign. "I came across it years ago on a Bakers German Chocolate box and modified it slightly."

Chocolate mixture: 1 package (4 ounces) Baker's German Sweet Chocolate and 3 tablespoons margarine.

Manzella's marks 50 years of keeping food in family

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.

It's Your Business: Comfort food stars at Uncle Jack's

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.

Fundraiser for WEFT 90.1 FM, food bank starts Monday

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.

Old Ned Kelly's to become Montana Mike's Steakhouse

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.