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5 Planned Leftover Meals with Marinara Sauce

Updated on July 10, 2011

If you don't have time to cook meals from scratch, it's a good idea to set aside time to prepare fairly large quantities of foods that you can be repurposed for other meals quickly and easily.

It's a bonus if you choose to prepare foods that not only can be used as leftovers several times during the week that you make them, but that can also be frozen so that you'll have handy ready-made meal basics in your freezer whenever you need them.

Marinara Sauce for Planned Leftovers

Marinara sauce is one of the most flexible bases for leftover meals. It can be used to create many tasty dishes and freezes very well.

Like many seasoned tomato-based sauces, marinara actually seems to taste better a few days after you cook it, making it a great choice for people who want to cook once and enjoy several meals as a result. It also freezes very well.

If you want to use marinara sauce for make-ahead meals, simply prepare a double or triple batch of your favorite recipes. If you don't have a favorite recipe or if you'd like to try a new one, visit the How to Make Marinara Sauce hub.

Note: Since you're planning to use the sauce for several different ways, don't add meat to the sauce while it is cooking. Instead, prepare the tomato sauce and then separate it into batches with plans of preparing different meals with each batch

5 Meal Ideas with Marinara Sauce

  1. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce – Add browned ground beef to part of your prepared marinara sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite pasta; top with grated parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.
  2. Pasta Casserole – Place a portion of leftover meat sauce in a casserole dish. Stir in your favorite type of prepared pasta. Add a can of drained whole kernel corn. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and place a few sliced black olives on the top (optional). Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes.
  3. Meatball Sandwiches – Stir cooked homemade or frozen meatballs into a portion of marinara sauce and heat through. Place meatballs on slices of fresh French bread or sub sandwich rolls and add your favorite toppings. Consider sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the meatballs. Other tasty toppings include sliced jalapeno peppers, shredded lettuce, and sliced tomatoes.
  4. Chicken Marinara – Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet. Place boneless skinless chicken breasts in the skillet and season with your choice of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning blend (or basil and oregano). Cook thoroughly, turning a few times. Add prepare marinara sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Place shredded mozzarella sauce on top of each piece of chicken prior to serving and allow it to melt before eating.
  5. Chicken Spaghetti – If you have leftover chicken marinara, cut the chicken pieces into small chunks and stir well to combine. Add additional sauce if necessary to end up with a consistency appropriate for serving over pasta. Reheat thoroughly. Serve over prepared spaghetti or another favorite type of pasta. Serve with garlic bread.

Freeze the Rest

If five dishes prepared with marinara sauce is enough for one week and you still have marinara sauce left over, freeze the rest in an airtight freezer-safe container. It'll keep for several months. The next time you're not sure what to prepare for dinner, simply thaw a container of sauce and heat with your favorite add-ins. If you don't have any left to freeze, consider making a bigger batch next time!

More Ideas?

These are just a few of the many tasty meal ideas you can create with leftover marinara sauce. Do you have favorite ideas that you'd like to share? Leave your suggestions in the comments line below.


Submit a Comment

  • powerofknowledge1 profile image


    7 years ago

    Great hub mgwhite

  • E M Smith profile image

    E M Smith 

    8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    Great ideas. Money saving too


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