Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

Homemade Bailey's Irish Cream is super easy and delicious! | themillennialmenu.com

People go crazy for my mom's Homemade Baileys Irish Cream recipe, and I've recently started making it for people and they can't get enough. Around the holidays, we've always got a bottle in our fridge. It's perfect for a nice cold glass cozied up on the couch catching up on your favorite show, for entertaining friends at a holiday party, or as a delicious gift.

When people ask what's in it, I basically just answer "sugar + whiskey" which is basically true. And cream. Three things that are all pretty amazing separately, and are even better when whisked together into a bottle of this creamy, sweet, indulgent treat. It's a really flexible recipe that you can't mess up - while the ingredients are all important to bring the flavor together, a little bit more or less instant coffee or hot chocolate powder won't make or break the thing...and a little bit MORE (or less, I guess) whiskey definitely isn't a problem, either. I hate to say this but - I don't use the nicest whiskey for this. I think if you did, it wouldn't be a bad thing, you just don't have to. I like nice whiskey in my cocktails, but since this drink is paired with indulgent cream and sweetened condensed milk, the alcohol itself isn't even the star of the show - it's the combination of the flavors that makes the drink. That means it's okay to get a cheaper option - no one will know, or care, especially when the whiskey does start to hit them!

I love that this recipe takes 10 minutes or less to come together, and it's a great treat to bring to holiday parties or to give as a gift to really impress people. My mom has found some beautiful recloseable bottles at the dollar store to serve hers in, but I've used Acqua Panna bottles that I've cleaned the labels off of. They look nice tied up with red ribbon and a recipe label. Or, like me, you can just make a few batches to keep in your fridge for those cold December nights.



Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

Makes about 2 liters (or 8 cups)
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes (to boil water - microwave is probably fastest!)
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons hot chocolate mix
  • 2 tablespoons boiling hot water
  • 2 cups half & half (or non-dairy creamer)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 shots whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
GroceryGuide.jpg




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free
Vegetarian Friendly
Dairy-free/vegan: Use non-dairy creamer and sweetened condensed coconut milk. Make sure to choose a vegan hot chocolate mix.

Directions

1. Dissolve 2 teaspoons hot chocolate mix and 2 teaspoons instant coffee in 2 tablespoons boiling hot water.
2. Mix in 2 cups half & half, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 6 shots of whiskey, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine. Store in the fridge to cool before serving.

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Homemade Baileys should be stored in the fridge. If stored properly, the Baileys can probably last up to a month (although I doubt you'll wait that long to finish the bottle!) - it might need to be shaken before serving again.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - You'll likely have some extra half & half, which can be used in just about any recipe that calls for milk or cream with slightly different results. I used my extra half & half in a homemade mac & cheese recipe (coming soon!) and it came out great. Hopefully you can come up with some ideas for that extra whiskey, my favorite is a Classic Whiskey Sour (with an egg white!) I save up any extra hot chocolate mix or instant coffee for another batch of Baileys, because once you try this, you'll definitely want more!


Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes is the easiest Thanksgiving recipe on your to-do list this year! Just one pot and only 12 minutes to cook these potatoes. Milk, butter, cream cheese....delicious! | themillennialmenu.com

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year, and one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the side dishes. I think I would be okay if there was no turkey, but I couldn't live without the mashed potatoes or stuffing (or my super easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe!). My mom's homemade mashed potatoes are almost exclusively served on holidays, so I knew I needed to honor her when making my own Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes for Friendsgiving this year. 

Enter: my beloved Instant Pot. I have adjusted to using my Instant Pot for so many staple things in my kitchen over the past year or two, from steel cut oats to hard boiled eggs to risotto to mac and cheese. I knew it could stand the test of mashed potatoes, and I was right.

The best thing about this recipe is it's all in one pot for easy cleanup. I steamed the potatoes in the pot (in ONLY 12 minutes!), mashed them back in there, and added all of the extras (um, hello butter) to stir together. The Instant Pot even keeps them warm for me until ready to serve - another perk of the all-in-one-pot method is the Instant Pot will keep your mashed potatoes at a consistent temperature, so you can make them early in the morning and have one less thing to worry about once the big day prep really gets into full swing.

There is one thing you need to know before making this recipe - you can't try to make mashed potatoes healthy. You just can't. They're best with A LOT of butter, with milk (or hey - even heavy cream), a good amount of salt, and finally, my mom's secret ingredient - cream cheese. It adds just the right of smooth, creamy tang to the potatoes. Thanksgiving is not the day to cut back on any of this goodness.

The other thing you need to know is your options for the mashing step. You have three options: a potato ricer, a potato masher, or your biceps + a wooden spoon. Here's how they differ:

1. A potato ricer is my mashed potato method of choice. I own this mostly for making homemade gnocchi (yum) but it also results in the absolute fluffiest mashed potatoes ever - with very little effort. The potatoes go into the ricer and it's super easy to squeeze them through the ricer easily. This method will lead to the smoothest mashed potatoes.

2. A potato masher is probably the most traditional method that most people use. This result is probably medium difficulty to achieve - the masher makes it easier than using a spoon and your arm, but isn't quite as easy as the potato ricer. This method will lead to potatoes that are slightly lumpy but still overall smooth.

3. Your biceps and a spoon - for the toughest among us. If you've got a sturdy spoon and some muscle power, you can make mashed potatoes by hand. This step requires the most effort and will lead to the most lumpy mashed potatoes - but some people absolutely love this texture, and if you're willing to put in the work, the taste is phenomenal with any method.

If you don't have an Instant Pot yetThe Instant Pot is always one of the best (and most popular) Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals - so if you're feeling like you absolutely need one of these in your life (you're right, you do) - keep your eye out for those deals coming up soon! In the meantime, you can boil your potatoes on the stove (which will take longer) and follow the same recipe. Keep them warm in a crock pot or in an oven-safe dish on low in the oven.

 



Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Makes about 10-15 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Cream cheese: Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushroom
Prep time: 15 minutes (10 minutes before, 5 minutes after)
Cook time: 20 minutes (12 in the Instant Pot + coming to pressure)
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 block cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 stick butter (yes, you read that right)
  • 1-2 cups milk, to taste
  • Salt, to taste




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free
Vegetarian Friendly
Dairy-free/Vegan: Substitute dairy-free milk or use chicken broth instead.

Directions

PEEL & BOIL THE POTATOES
1. Peel 5 lbs. of russet potatoes and add them to the Instant Pot. 
2. Add 8 cups water on top of the potatoes in the Instant Pot and cook for 10 minutes on the "Steam" function.
3. When the potatoes are done, release the steam immediately and drain the water from the pot. 

MAKE THEM MASHED!
4. Time to mash the potatoes! Your options for this are a potato masher, a potato ricer (my personal choice) or a wooden spoon + a really strong arm. See descriptions of each method above.
5. Add 1 stick's worth of butter tabs, 1-2 cups milk (depending on your preference), 1/2 cup cream cheese cubes, and salt to taste.
6. Stir well to incorporate. Add any extra of the above ingredients - you can't ever have too much, and it's all about what your taste is! If making ahead of time, keep warm in the Instant Pot using the "warming" feature.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - The best thing about mashed potatoes is that they're the perfect thing to make ahead early in the morning and leave in your Instant Pot (or crock pot) all day to keep warm before dinner. Leftovers will last up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. I've also read about freezing mashed potatoes - which I've never done but I trust it and think you should try it and let me know! 

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - This recipe will leave you with extra milk and cream cheese, which I'm sure you can find something to do with - if you need ideas, use up that cream cheese by making my Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushroom (it's the secret ingredient!).



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Twenty Minute Chicken Sausage Tortellini Skillet Recipe

This Chicken Sausage Tortellini Skillet is about to be your go-to 20 minute meal. | themillennialmenu.com

This recipe is my go-to twenty minute meal. We often eat it for weekend lunches because it's easy to make just 2 servings, doesn't require a lot of effort, tastes great, and keeps us full. It's also one of those recipes where it might be impossible to mess up: the chicken sausage is already cooked (thank you Al Fresco) and the biggest culinary feat is cooking up some pasta. The chicken sausage is already cooked (hallelujah!). It really takes just twenty minutes - boil the water for the pasta first, chop some things up, and heat things. That's it.

What I love about this recipe is it's so basic - you can add in substitutions for virtually everything based on what you like or what you have on hand. The basic formula is pasta + cheese + greens + chicken sausage. My favorite variation is roasted garlic chicken sausage, swiss chard, cheese tortellini, and asiago, but you can really take this in any direction. I saw pesto tortellini at Trader Joe's this weekend, and I can imagine that would be delicious with sundried tomato chicken sausage, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Whatever type of pasta, greens, or flavor chicken sausage you choose, the flavors will be brought together with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

variation suggestions


Chicken Sausage Skillet Recipe

Makes 4 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Tortellini: Tortellini Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken sausage (see Grocery Guide for more info)
  • 2-4 cups of greens (like spinach, swiss chard, or kale)
  • 1 package tortellini (or any other pasta you like, such as ravioli)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • Shredded asiago or parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free: Choose a gluten free pasta, whether it's tortellini, ravioli, or something elese
Dairy-free: Substitute dairy-free milk or omit the milk.
Vegetarian Friendly: Leave out the chicken sausage or add meatless sausage or tofu
Vegan-Friendly Follow dairy-free and vegetarian recommendations, plus leave off the butter and use olive oil.

Directions

BOIL & CHOP
1. Boil a pot of water and add 1 package of tortellini, cook 6-8 minutes until desired doneness.
2. Chop up 2-4 cups of greens (depending on how many vegetables you want in there) and slice up the chicken sausage.

MAKE THE SKILLET
3. Add 1 tablespoon butter to a sauce pan and add the slices of chicken sausage, stirring until both sides of the chicken sausage are browned slightly.
4. Add the 2-4 cups of greens to the chicken sausage, stirring to soften.
5. Once the tortellini is done, drain the pot and add the pasta back into the pot. Add the veggies and chicken sausage into the pasta pot and stir to combine.
6. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 2-4 tablespoons milk, depending on how saucy you want your dish to be. 
7. Toss in the shredded cheese, stir, and enjoy.

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for about 3 days, or until the greens start getting funky.

LUNCH TOMORROW - We eat some version of this recipe all the time for weekend lunches. It's easy to make enough for just 2 servings, doesn't require a lot of effort, and still tastes good and keeps us full. So - I can confirm it's a great lunch, and easy to bring along to work. I've also brought it in a thermos and it's stayed hot

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - This recipe does a pretty good job of using up a whole package of chicken sausage and a whole package of tortellini. If you only make a half batch, you can freeze both the tortellini and chicken sausage for use to make the same recipe another day. I hope you don't have too much trouble using up the extra cheese, but if you do, use up the rest of some asiago cheese in my Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes.


Instant Pot Applesauce

Instant Pot applesauce - in just 8 minutes -  is the quickest way to enjoy this sweet & tart bowl of homemade applesauce. You can also make it in your slow cooker! | themillennialmenu.com

My favorite thing about fall is definitely orchard apples. Macintosh and macoun straight from the orchard just taste so much better than buying a regular old apple at the store in the middle of winter. They're crunchier, sweeter, and just all around better. So, when fall rolls around, I take advantage of the abundance of orchard apples to do a little baking, including homemade applesauce - this time in my instant Pot (or your slow cooker!)

I grew up enjoying homemade applesauce in the fall, made on the stovetop and finished with a food mill. I realized that I could re-create this recipe using my beloved Instant Pot (in just 8 minutes!) and my Vitamix. The recipe came out perfectly and was so easy to make - and much easier than hand cranking the food mill for half an hour. 

The other great thing about applesauce is that it really doesn't matter what apples you use. It's actually better to not use all of the same kind. For this recipe, I used apples from my CSA, which came with a bunch of different varieties of apples. Macintosh or macoun are a good base, but adding in a few granny smiths or your other favorite varieties will give the applesauce a good range of sweet and tart flavors. For sweeteners, I love sweeter things, so I used refined white sugar (mmm!) You can also use maple syrup or honey, if you prefer, and add it after the cooking process to your own personal taste.

Sadly, I ate all of my applesauce within a few days, enjoying it as a snack at work whenever I wanted a little bit of sweetness to fuel me through lesson planning or grading papers. If you can resist, applesauce freezes well, meaning you can enjoy fall all year round.



Instant Pot Applesauce

Makes 6-8 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Apples: the perfect snack!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes (Instant Pot) or 4 hours on low (Slow Cooker)
Total Time: Depends on cooking method

Ingredients

  • 8-10 medium apples (Orchard apples are the best. My favorite are Macintosh, but a variety, including a granny smith or too, will yield the best results)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar Substitute: maple syrup, honey

Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, & Vegan

Directions

1.  Peel all of your apples and cut into relatively thin slices.
2. Add the apples, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup white sugar (or sweetener of your choice) to the Instant Pot. You don't even have to stir.
3. Turn the Instant Pot on high pressure for 8 minutes, or turn your slow cooker on low for 4 hours. Walk away!
4. Once the apples are done cooking, you'll likely want to puree your applesauce so it's smooth. I found that adding about half the applesauce to my beloved Vitamix, blending it for a second or two on high, and stirring it back into the rest of the more chunky applesauce led to a good consistency. You can do the same in a regular blender or with a handheld immersion blender, if you have one, until the applesauce is your desired consistency. Enjoy!

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or a few months in the freezer. Applesauce freezes really well since it's just fruit, and there's nothing better than tasting like you're at the orchard in the dead of winter.


Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

This Butternut Squash & Apple Soup takes just 15 minutes of prep time and then your slow cooker or instant pot does all the work! Happy Fall! | themillennialmenu.com

The best part about living in New England might be the fall, and therefore, the opportunity to make homemade soups with farm fresh harvest ingredients, like this Butternut Squash & Apple Soup recipe. Not only is this hearty vegetarian soup a delicious way to celebrate the season, it's also shockingly easy to make. I spent about 15 minutes total actually making the soup, and my Instant Pot did all the rest. This recipe is the ideal pressure cooker or slow cooker recipe for a cool fall day.

If you can chop and press a button or two, you can make this soup. It's full of butternut squash, apples, potatoes, and onions that simmer down into a delicious soup in your slow cooker or pressure cooker while you're out enjoying the cooler weather. One of my favorite parts about this soup is that it freezes so well - I made a double batch and now I know I have some last minute dinners or lunches on hand for when things get busy this October. 

Speaking of busy, that word has defined my past few months. After a non-stop summer, I transitioned into a amazing but crazy new job as a high school history teacher and also moved apartments. While we kept eating good food (most of the time), I struggled to find the time to post about it. I usually found time to snap a picture before digging in, so I'm looking forward to sharing some new recipes with you this season. As I settle into a rhythm of things after some big changes, I look forward to posting more regularly and hopefully sitting down to get that Rome travel guide done.

Even though I've been getting my life in order, it's been so exciting to see the blog really take off over the summer. I love hearing from new readers - who aren't my mom! - when they've made a recipe. I am also honored to have earned some recognition from Feedspot as one of the Top 100 Millennial Blogs - coming in at #50. Thank you! As I start my new job and get settled in my new apartment, I'm excited for new beginnings and milestones with not just my life, but also this blog. Please continue to share with me when you make my recipes - it makes me so happy - and continue to reach out about travel recommendations, questions about cooking and grocery shopping, and more. And stay tuned for more recipes coming at you soon!



Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Makes 6 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Butternut Squash: Butternut Squash and Sage Tortellini  //  Potatoes, carrots, and/or onions: Chicken Pot Pie
Prep time: 5 minutes + 10 minutes at the end
Cook time: 30 minutes (Instant Pot) or 5-8 hours (Slow Cooker)
Total Time: Depends on cooking method - but minimal "hands on" time!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, diced (See the Grocery Guide for tips on what/how to buy)
  • 2 apples, diced 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red potato, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (chicken would work too, for non-vegetarians)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt, pepper




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free & Vegetarian Friendly
Dairy-free & Vegan: Substitute dairy-free milk (coconut milk would be good) or omit the milk.

Directions

PREP WORK
1.  Dice the butternut squash, apples, onion, potato, and carrots.
2. Add the vegetables to your pot (whether Instant Pot or slow cooker) with 4 cloves minced garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, a pinch of cinnamon, and 2 cups vegetable broth. 
3. Turn the Instant Pot on high pressure for 30 minutes, or turn your slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Walk away!

LAST STEPS AFTER COOKING
4.  Once the soup is done cooking, you need to puree it. The best way to do this is with a blender. I hate immersion blenders, or I'm just really bad at using them, it's unclear, so I pour my soup into my beloved Vitamix and be really, really careful not to burn myself. Do the soup in two batches, pouring the pureed soup into a new pot (because you can't mix it with the un-pureed soup, obviously) and starting over adding new soup to the blender. This sounds complicated but I promise it's not. It's just pouring liquid back and forth. You can do it!
5. Once the soup is pureed, stir about a cup of milk into the soup. You might need to heat the new pot up on the stove for a bit if the milk brings down the temperature, but my soup was so hot that the milk brought it to a perfect serving temp.
6. Add any additional salt & pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or a few months in the freezer. I LOVE popping single-serving bags of soup into the freezer (freeze them flat first for quicker thawing later, then stand them up to save space once they're frozen). I store my soups in freezer quart bags and label them clearly with a Sharpie before freezing. Enjoying "soup in a bag" (that has since been defrosted) is now a culinary delight in our apartment.

LUNCH TOMORROW - There's nothing like a hearty bowl of soup to warm up your day at work. Pack with a slice of crusty bread to scoop up the last spoonful.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Since this soup freezes so well, I would just use your ingredients to make an extra-big batch and keep portions in the freezer for quick weeknight meals or last minute lunches. If you do have extra ingredients, like butternut squash, the sauce from my Butternut Squash and Sage Tortellini recipe is delicious on any and all types of pasta. Potatoes, carrots, and onions are extremely versatile ingredients and they're a great base for my favorite hearty Chicken Pot Pie recipe.