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3 Pasta Sauce Dinner Hacks That Don't Involve Pasta

You know when you get home late and you want a big delicious meal in front of you in two seconds and you swear you might just collapse on the spot? We’ve all been there. And if there’s one thing that makes us instantly happy it’s a rich, hearty, homemade sauce – but who has time for that? Enter: jars.

We’re not just talking about any jarred pasta sauce – there’s a big difference between indie, small-batch sauces and the mass produced stuff you’d find elsewhere. The sauces we’ve discovered use fresh ingredients, are super low in sugar, aren’t full of nasty oils, are 100% additive-free and really do taste totally homemade (even better, because someone else did the work).  

But here’s a question: why limit yourself to noodles?

Pasta sauces are, yes, great on pasta, but equally Mouthwatering (and time saving) when used as the backbone for other dishes. Right now we’re into using indie, small-batch pasta sauce as a base for soup, as a braising liquid for meats and as a saucy bed for eggs.

Below, three kind-of-recipes for dinner hacks using pasta sauce (and no pasta): 

Kale & Swiss Chard Tomato Sauce – This sauce, which is so good you will want to eat it straight from a spoon, makes a great base for a hearty soup. In a large pot, combine chicken or vegetable stock, a can of chickpeas (or some you’ve already made – we love Rancho Gordo’s Heirloom Pinquito Beans), a jar of Kale & Swiss Chard Tomato Sauce and warm through. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of light, fruity red, like Bethel Heights Pinot Noir. Whether you're trying to add more veggies to your kids' diet or you just can't get enough of kale, this flavorful sauce is the perfect disguise – the greens are plain to see, but take a backseat to the tangy tomato.

Smoky Eggplant Tomato Sauce – For our take on shakshuka (an Israeli dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce), preheat oven to 375° and in a large, oven-proof skillet, warm a jar or two of Smoky Eggplant Tomato sauce over medium-low heat. Stir in a few dollops of Fresh Goat Cheese and, hovering just above the skillet, gently crack six large eggs into the sauce. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until eggs are just set, about 7-10 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro and hot sauce. Our favorite Italian Nonna at City Saucery has done it again! For a night when dinner needs to take 10 minutes, but taste like it took three hours, this smoky, earthy sauce is molto bene.

Classic Red Sauce – Inspired by Jersey City's famous Italian restaurant Jule’s (now closed), This Classic Red Sauce with chicken and beer makes an easy and healthy chicken stew that serves a family of four to six. Here’s how: Season eight pieces of chicken (breasts, thighs, legs… you pick!) with salt and pepper. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter with two tablespoons of oil. Working in batches if necessary, brown the chicken. Return all the chicken to the pot and add one jar of Classic Red Sauce and two cups of beer (we like to use a Pilsner – and don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off). Cover and cook for about 35-40 minutes. Serve with buttered white rice and peas.

We know. Life will never be the same.

How are you using indie pasta sauces? Show us @MouthFoods using the hashtag #MOUTHwatering!

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