This week's column is dedicated to our level headed politicians , we certainly need them now!

Dad's Cola Burgers

1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)

1/2 cup (non-diet) cola, divided

6 tablespoons French salad dressing, divided

1 large egg

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)

6 hamburger buns, split

Lettuce leaves, tomato slices and red onion slices, optional

Combine saltine crumbs, 1/4 cup cola, 3 tablespoons salad dressing, egg, Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add beef. Mix well. Shape into 6 three-fourths-inch thick patties (the mixture will be moist); sprinkle with the remaining salt. Combine the remaining cola and salad dressing. Grill patties, covered, over medium heat 3 minutes per side. Brush with cola mixture. Grill, brushing and turning occasionally, until a thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 3-4 minutes longer. Serve on buns; if desired, top with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Apple Maple Pecan Salad

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

4 cups shredded cabbage

3 large unpeeled Granny Smith apples, julienned

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1 cup chopped, pecans, toasted

Whisk the first 5 ingredients until blended until blended. Combine cabbage, apples and Gorgonzola; toss with dressing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with pecans.

Chocolate Cheese Pie

9-inch chocolate graham crust

1 (16 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate pieces

1 (18 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, separated

1 cup heavy cream whipped

Melt chocolate over hot (not boiling) water; cool about 10 minutes. Blend cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in cooled chocolate, blend well. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar; beat until stiff and glossy. Fold chocolate mixture into beaten whites. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into chilled crust, reserving 1/4 of mixture for decorating. Chill until filling sets slightly. With tapered spoon, drop reserved mixture in mounds over tip of pie. Chill overnight.

Chocolate Graham Crust:

Mix thoroughly 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/3 cup melted margarine or butter and 1 square unsweetened chocolate melted. Press into 9 inch pie pan. Chill until firm.

Our thought for the week: "Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves." — William Hazlitt