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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 30, 2022

The Complete MyCG Holiday Menu

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Writer

We hope you all enjoyed the culinary specialists’ (CS) signature holiday recipes! For your convenience, here is the complete MyCG Holiday Menu from our five featured CSs across the Coast Guard. 

MyCG wishes everyone many joyful and delicious meals and celebrations in 2023! Many thanks to the talented culinary specialists who curated this year’s Holiday Menu.

Oyster Leek Stew prepared by Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua McBride and his family for Thanksgiving in Richmond Hill, Georgia, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua McBride)Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua McBride’s Oyster Stew with Leeks:

  • 3 medium leeks, halved thin sliced.
  • 1 yellow onion (Vidalia onion is preferred)
  • ¼ cup butter, (I am from the south, so I would probably use a at least ½ a cup)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 (16 oz) cans oysters, drained (save the juice to adjust flavor at the end)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Fresh parsley, chives, favorite hot sauce and some oyster crackers to top it off

Sauté the leeks and onions in butter for 10 mins on med heat until tender. Add the milk, cream, oysters, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until heated through (do not walk away as you don’t want to boil or scorch the milk). You can add the saved liquid from the oysters to your taste preference.
Pour in a bowl and garnish with parsley, chives, your favorite hot sauce and some oyster crackers.

Chief Petty Officer Ava Stow’s Caribbean Smoked Turkey:


  • Smoker
  • Turkey Bag
  • Blender


  • 10-15 lbs. turkey, cleaned and trimmed of excess fat 
  • 1 onion, yellow
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 limes
  • 4 cloves of garlic


  • ½ cup whole allspice
  • 4 tbsp. black peppercorn or black pepper powder 
  • 16 green onions
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 cup garlic, peeled
  • 24 sprigs thyme, destemmed 
  • 8 hot peppers, destemmed (Scotch bonnet is preferred, but any type works)
  • 4 tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar 
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup oil, neutral flavor
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 4 tbsp. browning seasoning

Put all seasonings in blender and blend until smooth. Stuff the turkey with the onion, thyme, lime, and garlic. Tie the legs up and pin the wings down to help keep its shape. 

Place turkey in the turkey bag and pour the blended seasonings on top. Tie the bag up well, double bagging if necessary. Massage the seasoning all around the turkey. Place in fridge for 36 hours, turning the bag every 12 hours. 

Remove the turkey from the fridge and thaw to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Set your smoker to 225 degrees. Be sure to place a drip pan underneath your turkey to catch the juices. 

Smoke your turkey at 225 degrees for 1 hour. Crank up the heat to 350 degrees and continue to smoke until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. A 12-pound turkey usually takes 4-5 hours of smoking time.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Adam Shelton’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pear, Nuts, and Scallions:Senior Chief Petty Officer Adam Shelton’s contribution to the 2022 MyCG Holiday Menu, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pear, Nuts, and Scallions, Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Senior Chief Petty Officer Adam Shelton)

  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts (give or take, 1 mesh bag will do)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Black pepper and salt for seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. five spice powder
  • 3 scallions (green onions)
  • 2.25 oz chopped pecans (walnuts are a good substitute if you prefer)
  • 1 pear (feel free to use more if you want the dish to be more fruit-forward)
  • 1 tsp. vinegar (any vinegar will work, but for this dish I prefer a darker version like fig, or balsamic, but red wine or apple cider vinegar will work, too. White distilled vinegar would be my last choice)
  • Grated parmesan or other cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep the brussels sprouts by trimming the roots ends and peeling a layer or two of leaves. You just want to remove most spots, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Some spots are okay. Then slice in half and place in a large bowl. 

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of grinds of a black pepper mill, two pinches of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of five spice powder, then toss with brussels sprouts. If you don’t have a black pepper mill, a couple of pinches of ground black pepper will do.

Place the oiled and seasoned brussels sprouts on a baking sheet line with aluminum foil (with cooking spray) or parchment paper. A silicone mat works as well. Be sure to keep the bowl because you’ll need it again soon! Roast brussels sprouts for 8 minutes.

While the brussels sprouts roast, prep the scallions (green onions). Cut three (individual scallions, not bushels) at an angle (diagonally), then place in the bowl. 

Then prepare the pecans or nuts. In a small pan on low-medium heat, gently heat the nuts, constantly stirring and making sure they don’t burn or even lightly smoke. About five minutes should be fine. Then remove nuts from heat and set aside. 

Remove the brussels sprouts from the oven at the end of the eight minutes. Shake the brussels sprouts and turn as many as you can over. Then return to the oven, and roast for another 8 minutes at 425 degrees.

Peel the pear and dice into small cubes, about half an inch in size, and add to the bowl. Remove the brussels sprouts, stir them, then combine with other ingredients. Finally, add the lightly roasted nuts. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and stir.

Give it a taste and feel free to add salt. If you want to make it more acidic, add a few drops of vinegar. Transfer to your serving bowl or plate if you have one, then finish the dish with some shaved or grated parmesan.  

Chief Petty Officer Sonata Haley’s signature Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Cranberry Stuffing, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2022. The recipe was featured in MyCG as part of a collection of holiday recipes from five culinary specialists (CSs) across the Coast Guard. (Photo courtesy of Chief Petty Officer Sonata Haley)Chief Petty Officer Sonata Haley’s signature Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Cranberry Stuffing. 

* Be sure to start step one of the recipe, she noted, before prepping rest of ingredients to save time.

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Your preferred oil, about 1-2 tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper (obviously)
  • 2 tbsp. butter (or oil if you’re going the dairy free route)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped, diced, sliced, or whatever feels right in your heart
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (as in three ribs, not three full bunches)
  • 1 lb. pork sausage (I like the ground pork with sage)
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped (granny smith for maintaining texture and not being too sweet)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced (chopped tiny)
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh sage, minced (if you don’t have fresh herbs you can used dried, or the poultry seasoning blend in place of the three listed here)
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries (I don’t actually measure- just let it speak to me)
  • 1 whisked egg (to help bind the ingredients together, but this is optional)
  • Fresh parsley and shaved parmesan to make it pretty

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with oil, salt, and pepper, and spread in single layer on baking sheet (line with parchment or foil). Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through until it has some nice color. Remove then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

While the squash is roasting, mise the rest of your ingredients. That’s fancy chef-speak for measure/cut/prep all ingredients. “Mise en place” is French for “everything in its place.” This just keeps you organized and efficient. 

Sauté onion and celery in butter (or oil) for about four minutes, until softened. Smell as you go, just for the pure enjoyment. Does anything (besides puppy breath) beat the smell of sautéed vegetables? 

Add the ground sausage to the same pan and break up, brown, then reduce heat to medium. Add apples and herbs and cook for just a minute or two. Then salt to taste. 

Lower the heat and simmer all ingredients for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat. Add roasted squash and carefully mix, along with dried cranberries and the whisked egg. The egg is optional but helps everything stick together to be more stuffing like. 

Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish, like a cast iron skillet or bakeware. Spread out evenly and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and toasty. 

No plate goes un-garnished! Sprinkle the fresh, chopped parsley and shaved parmesan and serve!

And finally, for dessert, Chief Petty Officer Matt Shaw’s Brownie Toffee Bars:

For the crust:Chief Petty Officer Matt Shaw’s signature Brownie Toffee Bars, Jan. 2022. MyCG featured five culinary specialists (CSs) as part of a holiday menu for the Coast Guard community. (Photo courtesy of Chief Petty Officer Troy Shaw)

  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 1 package fudge brownie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • 1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips, melted
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pistachio (or any nut, crushed peppermint, mini marshmallows of choice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 12 x 1-inch baking sheet pan. To make the crust, combine softened butter, brown sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Shift in flour and mix until dough forms. Spread in the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling, mix brownie mix with egg, water, and vegetable oil until smooth consistence. Spread over hot crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until surface appears to be set. Cool for 45 minutes.

For the topping, spread the melted chocolate on top of the brownie layer. Garnish with finely chopped pistachio or any nut of choice. You may also like to try crushed peppermint candy during the holidays.

Let brownies cool completely and the cut into squares. Enjoy! 

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