It’s that time of year when meals outside taste a lot better than those prepared inside. For family it is great to at least get out in the backyard on family night and let all the family try their skills at cooking an outdoor meal.

For that experience I am going to share my favorite outdoor meal where everyone can participate. I have used this menu for groups in size from a small family up to 150 people. This is my favorite to do with a ward dinner where you can get a hot bed of coals going.

The menu is:

Meatloaf in an Onion
Garden green salad with your favorite dressing
Rolls
Banana Boat

If this is your first time to do this, it is good for you to have a few dry runs if you are going to do it for a large group. For your family you can have this adventure as you are going.

Recipes

Meat Loaf In An Onion

This is one of my signature recipes and is wonderful for a large group. Each person makes his or her own.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 large onions, peeled and halved (see •)
  • 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil

Cut off the root at the bottom end of the onion so that removal of the center is easy. The removed center of the onion can be diced and combined with ingredients or used later.

In a 1-gallon plastic self-sealing bag, combine ground beef, egg, cracker crumbs, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and dry mustard and mix by squeezing. Set aside.

Cut onions in half horizontally and remove center part of onion, leaving a 3/4-inch-thick shell. Divide meat mixture into 4 portions and roll into balls. Place in the center of the 4 onion halves. Put onions back together.

Instructions For Cooking In Foil

Wrap each onion in foil using the drugstore wrap. Cook over a bed of hot coals for 15 to 20 minutes per side. Serve as a lunch or dinner. Serves 4.

Instructions For Cooking At Home

Cook at 350ºF in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the ground beef and onion are cooked.

Banana Boat

  • 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • 1 banana, unpeeled
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Milk chocolate chips or broken candy bars

Cut a slit lengthwise about two-thirds of the way through the banana from the stem to the base. Fill the slit with miniature marshmallows and milk chocolate chips or broken pieces of chocolate bars. (I like to use milk chocolate chips because they melt in your mouth, in your hand—they melt everywhere.) To heat the banana boat, wrap in foil and cook on hot coals for five minutes, or until the chocolate and marshmallows have melted. Serve as a snack, a dessert or a treat around the campfire.

You can also create a fruit “banana boat” by using maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, nuts and pineapple

NOTE: If you leave the boats in the coals too long, the bananas will liquefy.