13 Fave Weeknight Meals Using Jarred Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce can be used in so many dishes! From classic spaghetti and pizza (yes, it can be used on pizza!) to stuffed shells, as long as your pantry's stocked with pasta and sauce, you’ve got dinner.

If there’s one thing I always have in my pantry, it’s pasta sauce. It’s basically liquid gold at my house: when I’m in a pinch, I know I can pull out a trusty jar and whip up a semi-gourmet dinner in no time at all. 

With the holidays oh-so-swiftly approaching, spending oodles of time on dinner just isn’t going to happen for me, and I get the feeling that *maybe* you’re in the same boat?

That’s why I’ve stocked up on pasta sauce like there’s no tomorrow. Around here, we use it on everything from classic spaghetti and pizza (yes, I use it on my pizza!) to stuffed shells. As long as you have some sort of pasta and sauce, you’ve got dinner!

Which Sauce to Buy?

Yes, there are soooo many jarred pasta sauces at the store, so which one is the best to buy? Well in case you missed it, our team recently did a blind taste test to find the best pasta sauce for weeknight dinners (and more special occasions). We found ourselves eating the winner with a spoon right out of the jar. Check out our favorites

Can I Freeze Leftover Sauce?

Yes you can! I love freezing leftover sauce in silicone trays and once they’re frozen, I’ll pop them into a giant Ziplock bag. Once they’re in the bag, they can stay frozen for up to four months. 

To thaw the sauce, you will just place the Ziplock bag in warm water, or if you’re like me and forget to do that, you can just place them straight in a saucepan and warm it up that way.

Baked Ziti

Oh Baked Ziti, how we love thee. It’s such a classic dish that is basically like lasagna but without all the layers. By adding jarred marinara into the mix, this is basically the most low maintenance weeknight meal of all time.

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Pasta with Pepperoni

Combine pizza and pasta together and you’ve got the friendliest dinner in town. Feeling extra friendly? Toss in some breadcrumbs!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan bake the chicken in the oven in a casserole dish

There are so many ways to enjoy Chicken Parmesan! Serve it straight up, over pasta, or in a sub roll. Serve it with a Caesar salad or veggies. Which option will you choose?

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Stuffed pasta shells with ricotta and summer squash

Did you know you can prep this dish up to three days in advance? Or freeze for later? Whenever you make it, just don’t forget to add in the little prosciutto crispies!

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Skillet Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Cheese & Spinach

There are 5 basic ingredients in this skillet recipe and I’m almost positive that you have them on hand right now. Keep this recipe tucked in your back pocket because you’ll be using it over and over again!

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Crispy crust and cheese on a pepperoni pizza made at home

While this recipe says to use pizza sauce, I’ve used marinara in a pinch, and it still does the trick. TIP! Make an extra batch of dough, smother it with butter and cheese, and cut it into breadsticks. Dip those breadsticks in the extra marinara!

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Italian Sausage Spaghetti

Spaghetti seems to be a default meal for when you can’t think of anything else… and that’s okay! We all have those nights! The trick is to add in a little zing, and in this case, Italian sausage happens to be our zing of choice.

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Meatballs in a slow cooker filled with tomato sauce with a spoon lifting a meatball out of the sauce.

This is such a versatile dish. Want to make it for dinner? Serve it over pasta. Don’t know what to do with the leftovers (if there are any)? Serve it on a hoagie roll. Going to a party? Stick little toothpicks in each meatball and you’ve got a tasty appetizer.

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Pepperoni Pizza Hand Pies

Think calzone, but flakier. Not only can you use jarred marinara sauce, but you can also use a store-bought pie crust to cut down on the time even more. These are fun to eat for dinner, but my kids love taking them in their lunches!

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This is similar to our Chicken Parmesan, but it’s made with chicken thighs more an added depth of flavor. This is definitely what you’ll want to make for when you need a heaping helping of comfort food!

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Easy Skillet lasagna

Lasagna can be pretty intimidating, but making it in a skillet takes some of that pressure off. Because it’s cooked in a skillet, it takes less time to actually cook, the process in general isn’t as fussy, and you’ll have it on your plate in under an hour.

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Slices of homemade stromboli on a cutting board

 If you’re a sauce lover like I am, then you can add marinara sauce to the Stromboli after you have rolled the dough out and before you add on the toppings. Or, you can follow the original directions for the Stromboli and then dip the slices into marinara. Your choice!

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Sheet Pan Pizza with Pepperoni

Ever had sheet pan pizza? It’s so fun to make, and this one is loaded to the brim with meat. This makes a giant pizza, so you’re more than likely to have leftovers!

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Claudia Cash

Claudia is the Community Manager for Simply Recipes, and finds joy building relationships with our readers through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. As the mother of 5 girls, she is passionate about family dinner and having that time together every day to connect with those we love, even if it's over toast and eggs.

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