The Galley: Holiday Dinner Ideas

galleymeat The Galley: Holiday Dinner Ideas

Baked meat with basil and garlic

By Betha Merit

Lucky us, to live in a climate where we can go cruising during the holiday months. And lucky us, that we have simplified packaging and ingredients so we can aim at a close re-creation of a traditional holiday dinner. It will take a tad of resourcefulness with a smack of creativity. Just break down the six areas that are must haves. These include main dish meat, side dish starches, your family’s traditional veggies/relishes, bread, dessert, and a holiday drink option.

Let’s start with the holiday drink, of course. In addition to your soda, wine, coffee/tea staples, for the holidays we associate aromatic scents and spices with the season. The drink choice will allow you to incorporate a lovely waft of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves to set the olfactory tone. The easiest way to accomplish this is with individual packets for hot apple cider and hot chocolate with your additional spices. Just add water. For making these drinks adult beverages, add a splash of brandy, rum, bourbon, etc. A big side note here, is that you can put all your spices for drinks and the entire meal, into pre-measured baggies before you board if space/storage is an issue.

The main dish. Turkey? Chicken? Ham? Whole turkeys are probably too large for most galley kitchens. But a turkey breast or boneless roast, either pre-cooked or fresh/frozen is a great option. If you simply must have a platter with a whole bird on it, a large roasted chicken is a beautiful option if your guests are few. Gravy comes in packets, jars, and if you have any drippings, you can add that.

Potatoes, Yams, and Stuffing? It is always possible to use Great Aunt Ethel’s recipes by making them ahead and freezing them to bring on your vessel, or even preparing them on board. For an easy way, you can buy stovetop style stuffing and bring your own celery, mushrooms, or water chestnuts in baggies, ready to add. A great compromise to dried mashed potato flakes is to use a few boiled real potatoes in the mix. Canned yams is also an option. These are very personal choices, so do not create WWIII over these emotionally charged dishes.

Traditional veggies and relishes are up to you. What can you fit? Relish cans and jars are heavy. What is a must have? Cranberry relish in some form is standard, and if the cream cheese stuffed celery is required, make the effort to get that done. Green beans are the easiest side, whether canned, frozen, or fresh. Creamed spinach can be made on the cooktop. You know your family/guests, so your insight is the deciding factor. The same with bread/rolls. Do what makes sense for you. And don’t forget the butter!

The dessert tradition is often pies. Two other ideas are pumpkin bars and gingerbread.  Both smell delicious, can be made prior to the meal in most galley ovens, and are associated with the holidays. Lastly, have holiday music playing on your sound system. From Frank Sinatra to Amy Grant to a children’s choir, make the mood music according to your traditions. And, bon appétit.

pumpkinsquares The Galley: Holiday Dinner Ideas

Pumpkin Squares


  • 1/2 of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Canned cream cheese frosting (topping only)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8” or 9” square pan. In a bowl, mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Mix remaining ingredients separately, then add to pumpkin mixture and stir until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top until level. Bake for 30 minutes. When cool, cut into squares and top with a dollop of canned cream cheese frosting.


Creamed Spinach


  • 2 ten ounce bags of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 TBSP of dried minced onion
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup garlic and herb spreadable cheese, (Alouette brand is excellent)
  • 2 TBSP shredded parmesan cheese


Heat olive oil at medium heat in large pan on stove. Stir in minced onion for one minute. Add thawed spinach and cook for one to two minutes. Add garlic and herb cheese and mix together. Use salt and pepper to taste. When warmed through, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

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