Come and Open My Jar! Recipes the Whole Family Will Love (Seriously)

Come and Open My Jar! Recipes the Whole Family Will Love (Seriously)

Dinner’s waiting for you. Crack open your favorite jar of red sauce and get a great meal on the table in a flash with these family-friendly recipes. Sponsored by Prego® Italian Sauce.

Sponsored by Prego® Italian Sauce.

That comforting ‘thunk’ sound as the lid pops up isn’t just for spaghetti anymore. These days we’re cooking at home more than ever; while it’s always been a bit of a race to get dinner on the table before the crowd turns cranky, home cooks today are really earning their chops, turning out a seemingly endless series of meals to an increasingly squirrelly brood. Making great meals that keep everyone happy at the table requires more inspiration—and speedy shortcuts—than ever before.

Enter the ultimate family favorite: marinara sauce. There’s a reason so many cultures have called a tomato the “love apple”: When turned into sauce, in all its chunky, puréed, and zesty veggie-full variations, it’s beloved by tiny tots, hip 20-somethings, exhausted parents, and busy Boomers alike. But a red-sauce meal doesn’t have to be limited to a ladled circle atop a plate of hot pasta. It can do so much more.

Recipes featuring marinara sauce

The following recipes open the jar to deliver delicious meals quickly, ones guaranteed to please even the pickiest of eaters. Some can easily be doubled and then frozen, so your time investment tonight can pay off dividends in weeks to come. The freezer can be transformed into a dinnertime savings account that’s flush with tasty meals. Who doesn’t want a homemade meal the whole family loves that’s pulled from the freezer, popped in the oven, and placed on the table?      

Best of all, these clever streamlined dishes have steps that eager little hands can help with. And it’s wise to let children pitch in: Kids who participate in making dinner are more likely to try new foods, get to practice their counting and math skills, and often become enthusiastic dining companions. So give these recipes a whirl, and be sure to let us know how it goes!   

Ravioli Lasagna

At only five ingredients and minimal prep, this tasty crowd-pleaser delivers a one-two punch of lasagna flavor and texture at astonishing speed. Because it’s easy to put together, kids can help with assembly and proudly share their prize dinner with the family. This is also a great meal to make several batches of: Because the full-size frozen ravioli can be popped directly from the freezer into a baking dish, it’s easy to prepare several trays at once and then store extras in the freezer for busy nights later. A homey baked pasta feast, ready in under an hour? We have a winner!

Sheet Pan Pizza Chicken

Yummly Original

This clever take on pizza borrows inspiration from chicken parm, but with a twist: Instead of crust, pounded chicken breasts serve as the base for pizza-tastic flavors of your favorite red sauce, sliced mozzarella, pepperoni, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs—a fun task for little hands—right before serving. The entire dish is put together on the sheet pan it bakes on, so clean up is as easy as the prep. And look Ma, no carbs! 

Quick Tomato Basil Soup with Cheese Tortellini

This simple soup tastes like more than the sum of its parts and is ideal for busy nights when everyone is hungry and ready to eat now. It only takes 20 minutes from the start of chopping a shallot and opening the marinara until a cozy bowl of soup arrives at the table. And kids can help with some steps: Little ones can grab the tortellini from the freezer and the marinara sauce from the pantry, and older kiddos can chop shallots and garlic. This soup is destined to become an instant family favorite, sure to inspire shouts of “more, please!”

Texas Toast Pizzas

These super cute Texas Toast Pizzas already pack buttery, garlicky goodness into their perfectly seasoned Texas Toast “crust.” A spread of prepared marinara sauce, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and the canvas is ready! Each member of the family can have fun customizing slices with their favorite toppings. After five minutes in the oven, everyone’s edible creations are ready. This is a flexible recipe: Make one or two as a snack, or serve a sheet pan’s worth for dinner.

Mozzarella Meatball Sandwiches

This may be the easiest (and quickest) meatball sandwich recipe ever. With just three tasty ingredients— frozen meatballs, marinara sauce, and cheesy garlic bread— your knife can stay in the drawer because this recipe is simply “assembly required.” No chopping, shredding, or dicing necessary! Toast the bread in the oven until the cheese is melty, gently simmer the meatballs in the sauce, put your sammie together, and voila! Dinner is served in 25 minutes. But you will be left with a question: Why isn’t every meatball sandwich served on garlic bread?

30 Minute Country Captain Chicken

This dish is a gem from the South, and an excellent example of American Lowcountry cooking. The marinara sauce is subtly spiced, and the optional raisins add a sweet note that makes this dish a crowd-pleaser that’s elegant enough for company. It’s also a great dish for kids who love rice, and the colorful diced veggies ensure a healthy meal. It requires only one pan so cleanup is simple, and shortcuts (like your favorite jar of marinara sauce) get it on the table in a half-hour. Plus this chicken dish freezes well, so feel free to make a double batch to have on hand for busy nights.