During our wonderful four nights at the Grand Canyon National Park, we had a bunch of memorable meals, eating most of them outdoors despite the chilly temps.
On the final night -- a Sunday -- I was pondering what to make. This is a pastime that brings much pleasure, though that might sound a bit strange. I especially love a good pantry challenge, pulling stuff from the cupboards to create dinner. Sometimes, there's one ingredient that sparks joy.
That sleeve of Ritz that had come flying out of the cupboard and smashed to smithereens was the just the golden ticket to making a home-style meatloaf. Though I usually use breadcrumbs, these crumbled crackers were going to be part of an experiment. To the 10 or so crumbled crackers, I added half a cup of chopped mushrooms and shallots pan-fried briefly in olive oil, one egg, a generous squirt of ketchup and salt and pepper to one pound of ground beef and mixed gently with my hands.
We have a microwave that doubles as an oven and the meatloaf cooked under the "roast chicken" setting for about 30 minutes, turning out as hot and bubbly and satisfying as if I'd cooked it in the full-size range back home. Served thick slices of it next to a baked potato and steamed asparagus, a salad on the side.
Even though it was sunny, there was a cold wind blowing as we ate at the picnic table in Trailer Village. Then, it calmed down and we were fully able to enjoy our Sunday supper.
Please check out our Friday column for more details about our visit to the gorgeous Grand Canyon.