Four out of the five branches of the military — the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force — have different holiday menus that they serve to their members, but did you know that no matter what they’re serving, it all comes from the same cookbook? The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (USSC) has a recipe index with all standardized recipes for more than 1,500 dishes, including entrees, sides, and even desserts.
It’s probably nothing like the way mom or grandma makes the traditional holiday meal, but Uncle Sam’s recipes for Thanksgiving dinner are certainly better than MREs. And with around 100,000 pounds of turkey and other holiday ingredients being delivered to troops in the Middle East right now, the men and women of the Armed Forces deployed overseas are in for a treat this weekend.
They may not be able to be at home with their families, but at least they will still get a proper Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanks to USSC’s recipe index, you can scrap your traditional dinner, too, and prepare a Thanksgiving dinner just like the one the troops will be eating this week, complete with turkey, cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie!
Take a look at the recipes in this list — and maybe try your hand at making them at home!
Herbed Green Beans
Onions, Fresh, Chopped — 1 gal, 1/4 qts
Celery, Fresh, Chopped — 2 qts, 3-3/8 cup
Margarine — 1-1/8 cup
Garlic Powder — 1 tbsp
Basil, Dried, Crushed — 1/4 cup, 1-1/3 tbsp
Rosemary, Ground — 1/4 cup, 2/3 tbsp
Beans, Green, Canned — 4 gal, 2 qts
1. Saute onions and celery in butter or margarine until tender.
2. Add garlic powder, basil, and rosemary to sauteed vegetables; mix well.
3. Drain green beans, reserving liquid. Prepare canned green beans. Add beans and reserved liquid to onion-herb mixture.
CCP: Heat to 145 F. or higher for 15 seconds. Hold for service at 140 F. or higher.
Cranberry Orange Relish
Cranberries, Fresh — 1 gal, 3/4 qts
Orange, Fresh — 10 each
Sugar, Granulated — 2 qts, 1-5/8 cup
1. Put cranberries through food grinder or chopper to grind fine. Set aside for use in Step 3.
2. Cut oranges into quarters; remove seeds. Coarse grind through food grinder or chopper.
3. Combine cranberries, oranges, and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved.
4. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve. CCP: Hold for service at 41 F. or lower.
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Turkey, Whole, Ready-to-cook, Raw — 65 lbs
Salt — 3/4 cup
Shortening, Vegetable, Melted — 1 cup
1. Remove bands from legs; open turkey cavity. Cut off wing tips.
2. Wash turkey thoroughly inside and out, under cold running water. Drain well.
3. Rub cavity with salt.
4. Tuck legs and tail into cavity. Place in roasting pans, breast side up. Turkeys should not touch each other.
5. Rub skin with salad oil or melted shortening. DO NOT ADD WATER.
6. Insert meat thermometer in center of inside thigh muscle of smallest bird.
7. Roast uncovered. CCP: Internal temperature OF ALL TURKEYS must reach 165 F. or higher for 15 seconds.
8. Baste frequently with drippings. CCP: Hold for service at 140 F. or higher.
Keep reading for more Thanksgiving recipes, including the military’s version of pumpkin pie!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.