Sweet Bacon Chili

This post is going to make a lot of people very happy. Why? Because this chili has been winning church cook-offs for 7 years and I’m FINALLY getting it on the blog! Seriously, half of the congregation at my church is ticked when I bring it because they want their chili to win and the other half would be super ticked if I didn’t bring it! Ha! I also made it for one of my cooking demonstrations at the Utah State Fair last month and promised everyone that I’d get it on the blog soon. Sorry it took so long!

This chili is also the “recipe that started it all” with my TV cooking. Three years ago this month I happened to be watching Good Things Utah when they announced a chili contest that they were doing. I thought, “My chili is awesome and always wins the church cook-off, why not?” I submitted my recipe and 2 weeks later got a call from the producer telling me that I was a finalist. I thought, “What in the world have I gotten myself into???” I had never cooked on TV or done any kind of public cooking demonstration. I was so nervous but as soon as I walked in to the television studio, my nerves melted away and I felt so excited. I rocked my demonstration and it felt like I was fulfilling a dream that I didn’t even know was possible. It was amazing!

Cooking on TV is a dream that was DEEP in my heart for years. Being able to do it regularly now is so awesome and I’m so grateful that I get to do it! Having this opportunity has lead to so many other things and I’m having the BEST time. I feel like I’m finally becoming the person that I was meant to be and honestly fulfilling my destiny (as cheesy as that sounds).

Ok, back to the chili! Crispy bacon. That’s a major thing that sets this apart. And I know what you’re thinking, “You’re a Texan and you put beans in your chili???” Ha! Yes I certainly do! That’s why I say my recipes have a ‘Texas twist” because they’re not all perfectly authentic. I really like the texture that the beans add to it. This is such a simple chili but the technique makes it AMAZING. You crisp the bacon first then cook the onions, jalapeno, and garlic in the bacon drippings. It adds so much flavor! The rest is pretty simple! My Sweet Bacon Chili will be your new “go to” chili recipe and if you take it to any chili cook-offs, expect to win! (Just give me the credit! Ha!) Here’s a really important tip too…ALWAYS double this recipe! Trust me.
(Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s October 15-21: ground beef (organic), bacon, onions, chili beans, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce

Sweet Bacon Chili

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 can mild chili beans (15 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can stewed tomatoes, *chopped (15 oz)
2/3 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain bacon grease from pan leaving about 1 TB. Add onion and jalapeño then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess grease from pan.

Add all remaining ingredients including bacon. Stir together then let simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Taste and add more cayenne and salt if needed. Just a pinch at a time.

**Note: Use kitchen scissors to “chop” stewed tomatoes while they’re still in the can.

The Best Lasagna

My dilemma when writing this recipe…what do I call it? Classic lasagna? Traditional lasagna? Perfect lasagna? I finally settled on “The Best Lasagna” because that’s what we proclaim over and over every time we eat it. It’s simply the BEST!

This is a very close version to a recipe I printed back in 2009 for “World’s Best Lasagna” from the Allrecipes site. Yes I’ve been making it for TEN years! It’s one of those recipes that you make for something classic like lasagna and it’s so amazing you never try another recipe. Tried and true! Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks to make it my own. The ingredients are basically the same but the measurements are different. I mean, of course I increased the garlic and cheeses! Ha! I also switched to “oven-ready” lasagna because it’s amazing and it saves a lot of time not having to boil the pasta first.

Make sure to read the notes after the directions! This is not a hard recipe at all but does take some time. Like, 2 1/2-3 hours to be exact, so be prepared. It’s totally 100% worth the effort though because it is simply the best homemade lasagna you’ll ever make. You’ll feel like a rock star when your family “oohs and ahhs” over this at the dinner table!

It’s been forever since I’ve done a recipe for Lee’s Marketplace! I’ve been so busy with the fair but now I’m back to my weekly recipes and am so happy. I love doing them! This one worked out so perfectly because out of 19 total ingredients, 12 of them are on sale this week at Lee’s! Woohoo!

***Here’s what’s on sale Sept 23-30: Italian sausage, ground beef, yellow onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, lasagna, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan (sponsored post)

The Best Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
16 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
9 oz package “Oven-Ready” lasagna
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan, shredded


In a large, deep skillet cook ground beef, sausage, and onion until browned. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, then stir. Add sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, fennel, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley, then stir. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl, combine egg, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons parsley.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray then ladle in enough sauce to cover bottom of pan. Add 4-6 pieces of lasagna over sauce (it’s ok if they overlap a little). Add 1/3 of ricotta mixture and carefully spread across pasta. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Repeat layers two more times.

Cover tightly with nonstick foil (or spray regular foil with cooking spray). Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 20-25 additional minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining parsley.

1. Give yourself PLENTY of time to make this. You need about 2 1/2-3 hours from start to finish.
2. If you don’t have enough pasta for the final layer, it’s ok. Just place what you have on it!
3. Freezes perfectly! Can easily be made in two smaller pans so that you can stash one in the freezer for later. (Freeze before baking!)
4. If you choose to use traditional lasagna, follow package instructions for boiling before assembling.

Those crispy edges are my favorite!

Korean Bulgogi Tacos

Didn’t think you’d get a Korean recipe from me did you? Well, let me tell you where the inspiration came from. About a year ago, a yummy Asian fusion restaurant called Rice Bowl Deluxe opened up near me. There are slim pickens when it comes to good, unique restaurants within a 5-10 minute drive from me so this place was much needed! I fell in LOVE with their Korean Bulgogi Tacos! We went back several times and I got them every time.
I was so sad when they closed down a few months ago! Luckily, I’m one of those people who has to take pictures of my food. I needed these tacos in my life so I studied the pics I took and re-created them. When I made them for my family, we all DIED. They are so good! Each component is a must so don’t skip out on any of it!
Gochujang sounds like a weird, hard to find ingredient but it’s not. It’s just red chili paste and I found it in sauce form at my local grocery store. It gives the beef such a perfect spicy kick but isn’t overpowering.
I had a blast making these on KSL’s Studio 5! It was my first time doing a segment with them and I can’t wait to go back. Watch me make my Korean Bulgogi Tacos here!

Korean Bulgogi Tacos

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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For the beef:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1/4 cup sesame oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Gochujang sauce (optional)

For the slaw:
1/4 head purple cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice

Flour tortillas
1-2 avocados


Slice beef very thin against the grain. Place in a zip top bag.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and Gochujang. Pour over the beef. Close bag, massage to incorporate, and place in fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Just before cooking beef, make slaw by tossing cabbage, vinegar, sugar, oil, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Cover and place in fridge. Next, make the taco sauce by whisking sour cream, mayo, garlic powder, salt, pepper, sriracha, and lime juice together. Place in fridge until ready to eat.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Add meat (with marinade) and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir then continue cooking for an additional 3-5 minutes.

To assemble, warm tortillas then place meat, slaw, and sauce in them. Garnish with cilantro and avocado.

*Note: Gochujang is a sauce/paste and can usually be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Replace with Sriracha if you can’t find it.

On the set of KSL’s Studio 5 with Brooke Walker making these yummy tacos!

Baked Beef Chimichangas

Ok, ok you don’t have to beg me anymore, my chimichangas are finally on my blog! Ha! I created these for Lee’s Marketplace a couple of weeks ago and they were a huge hit. I have had so many friends make them already and they have loved them! I actually made these on my birthday but was happy to do it! I wanted Mexican food AND needed to make a recipe for Lee’s so it was perfect. Don’t worry, I made my family clean up the mess because it was my birthday after all!
What is a chimichanga? It’s basically a deep-fried burrito. They are traditionally fried in oil but baking them makes them just as crisp and delicious. The filling is very easy and rolling them up is a cinch! Your family will LOVE these!

Baked Beef Enchiladas

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons minced dried onion or 1/2 cup fresh diced onion
2 tablespoons dried taco seasoning
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1/2 cup taco sauce
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
12 flour tortillas, soft taco size
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Cooking spray

Toppings (optional):
sour cream, salsa, avocados, queso, olives, shredded cheese, lettuce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and cook ground beef and onions until beef is browned. Drain excess grease.
Add taco seasoning, green chilies, and taco sauce. Mix until combined and remove from heat.
Prepare large baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. Warm tortillas in microwave for better pliability then fill each one with 1/4 cup cheese (first) then 1/4 cup meat mixture. Fold in sides then roll up tightly. Place seam side down on baking sheet.
Brush chimichangas with melted butter then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with toppings of choice.