9 Comforting Dinner Ideas Made Easy With Store-Bought Pasta Sauce

9 Comforting Dinner Ideas Made Easy With Store-Bought Pasta Sauce

We’re teaming up with Primal Kitchen® to bring cozy-fresh flavor to your fall cooking routine. It all starts with their lineup of delicious sauces, dressings, condiments, and more (including dairy-free options), made using thoughtful, high-quality ingredients.

When it comes to weeknight dinners, I’m very much in the work-smarter-not-harder camp. Sure, I love taking on a big cooking project every now and then, but after a long day I don’t want to have to think too hard about what I’m making. Topping my checklist Monday through Friday are dishes that are quick, easy, and satisfying.

That’s why my pantry is always stocked with jarred and canned goods that make pulling together a meal as fuss-free as can be. Take pasta sauce, for example: It’s great for pasta, of course, but it’s got so much more potential than simply spaghetti. I like to keep a few Primal Kitchen® pasta sauces handy—they’re made with purposeful ingredients and loaded with fresh flavor—for whipping up casseroles, soups, chili, and so much more. Here are some of my favorite ideas…

1. Chicken Alfredo Casserole

Few things are more comforting than a big ol’ casserole. One of my favorite casserole combos starts with the No-Dairy Alfredo Sauce from Primal Kitchen—it’s creamy thanks to pumpkin seed butter, and has all the signature alfredo flavors of garlic, onion, and a hint of lemon. Simply combine the sauce with leftover shredded rotisserie chicken and steamed or roasted veggies (like broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms), sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a melty cheese (feel free to use a vegan option here), and bake till warmed through and golden on top.

2. Choose-Your-Own Adventure Flatbreads

Almost as easy as ordering pizza, but way more fun, homemade flatbreads are something the whole family can get in on. Set out a bunch of different toppings (sliced onions, olives, pineapple, you name it) and sauces (marinara, vodka, and even alfredo if you’re feeling zany), then get to work on creating your flatbread masterpiece.

3. Simmered Eggs à la Vodka

Eggs cooked in sauce always seem to hit the spot when I’m in the mood for breakfast for dinner. Shakshuka and Eggs in Purgatory are two classic examples, but I like to mix things up by giving them an à la vodka-inspired twist with Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Vodka Sauce, sautéed bell pepper, crumbled Italian sausage, and fresh basil. Serve with big hunks of crusty bread for dunking into all that saucy goodness.

4. Fridge-Cleanout Stuffed Peppers

Whether you’ve got a ton of leftovers or start to notice fresh ingredients going south in the fridge, a big batch of saucy stuffed peppers is a tasty way to avoid wasting any food. Sauté any uncooked veggies or meat first (I love these with ground beef), then combine with steamed grains (day-old rice or quinoa is great for this) and Primal Kitchen Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce for a hit of fresh, herby flavor. Stuff the bell peppers with the mixture and bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the peppers are nice and tender. Sprinkling a little mozzarella or fontina on top is never a bad idea, either.

5. Creamy Tomato Soup

Store-bought pasta sauce is a shortcut trick to supremely flavorful, not to mention speedy, tomato soup. Primal Kitchen Tomato Basil Marina stands in for slow-roasted tomatoes, with the added bonus of basil, onion, garlic powder, and oregano. Blitz it up with a generous splash of heavy cream and some jarred roasted red peppers, then warm on a low simmer till the aroma fills your kitchen. For me, serving with grilled cheese isn’t really optional, but you do you.

6. Cheesy Skillet Gnocchi

This house-favorite dinner combines two of my pantry staples: gnocchi and pasta sauce. It’s reliably ready in about 30 minutes and very flexible—just about any of Primal Kitchen pasta sauces work nicely here, from vodka to alfredo. Hot tip: Sizzle the freshly boiled gnocchi in a skillet with oil before adding the sauce so that they get evenly browned. Add the sauce to the skillet with the crispy gnocchi and any cooked veggies you like, top with low-moisture mozz, and broil in the oven till it’s all bubbling and golden.

7. Turkey Chili

One-pot comfort at its finest, a batch of turkey chili is my go-to on chilly weeknights when I need something hearty and warming. Instead of using canned tomatoes as my chili base, I like to use a great-quality marinara sauce like the one from Primal Kitchen for an instant flavor boost. Ground turkey is my standby when it comes to chili meat, but ground beef or even a vegetarian version starring earthy mushrooms would be excellent options.

8. Alfredo Pot Pie

Pot pie made from scratch can easily be an hours-long affair, but it quickly becomes weeknight-friendly when you bring store-bought sauce and frozen puff pastry or pie dough into the fold. Try an alfredo-y version with Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Alfredo Sauce, steamed or roasted veggies (peas, carrots, and broccoli are a great trio), and shredded chicken. You can also go the vegetarian route by upping the amount of produce (toss in mushrooms, squash, you name it). Bake with the thawed pastry on top and—voilà—pot pie in a cinch.

9. Meatballs for Dinner

Meatballs don’t need pasta to be a main meal. In fact, I like to serve them with a good sauce (marinara is always a good idea, but sometimes I’ll switch it up with vodka sauce), whipped ricotta, a flurry of fresh herbs, and garlic bread.

Got more delicious ideas for cooking with pasta sauce? Tell us in the comments below!

The Primal Kitchen collection of pasta and pizza sauces—from classic Tomato Basil Marinara to absurdly creamy No-Dairy Alfredo—pack tons of flavor into each jar. Keep your pantry stocked for speedy meals that don’t skimp on taste, along with other cooking must-haves from Primal Kitchen (we’re talking top-notch dressings, dips, condiments, and cooking oils).

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