On busy weeknights when you need to get dinner ready in a pinch, any shortcut can be helpful. One of our favorite ways to save time is using jarred sauces as a flavorful base for delicious dinners to create something truly special. These easy, low-effort recipes can add some spice back into your life in just a few easy steps. Simply pick the type of sauce you want to enjoy and have a delicious meal on the table in no time.
Enchilada Sauce: Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Acorn Squash
A hearty, comforting, nutritious meal that only uses five ingredients? Yes please! This stuffed acorn squash recipe is so easy, you’ll want to make it every night of the week. Thanks to store-bought enchilada sauce, the whole thing preps in just 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Pizza Sauce: Tofu-Crust Pan Pizzas
Add more protein to pizza night with this plant-powered pie that uses a secret ingredient. No one will ever guess the crust on this crowd-pleasing slice with jarred sauce and melty mozzarella is made with tofu.
Get the recipe: Tofu-Crust Pan Pizzas
Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce: Chicken Tikka Masala with Veggies
Skip ordering takeout and use a simmer sauce to get restaurant-worthy flavors at home. In just 20 minutes this satisfying, Indian-inspired meal is ready with very little effort. Simply cook the chicken and veggies, add the sauce, and voila! Dinner is served.
Get the recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala with Veggies
Pesto: Baked Turkey Meatballs with Pesto
If you’re craving pasta but want to keep dinner light and lean , this weeknight winner is for you. Jarred pesto spruces up a combo of gluten-free, plant-powered noodles made with squash and edamame. Top it off with tasty homemade meatballs that come together in minutes using ground turkey and a handful of flavorful ingredients.
Get the recipe: Baked Turkey Meatballs with Pesto
Curry Sauce: Coconut Chicken Curry
Nothing’s more comforting than a bowl of curry, but who has the time to make it from scratch? Thanks to a store-bought simmer sauce, you can have this Thai-inspired recipe with coconut milk and red lentils on the table in just 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry
Alfredo Sauce: Instant Pot Shrimp Alfredo
Seafood and pasta are always tasty time-savers, but this recipe takes that ease a step further by cooking everything together, hands-free, in a single pot. Five ingredients and five minutes of prep are all you need for a linguine with creamy jarred alfredo sauce and frozen shrimp.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot Shrimp Alfredo
Tomato Sauce: Mussels Marinara
Mussels are ready in a matter of minutes, so they’re a great option when you want to feel like you’re dining in a fancy restaurant without spending hours in the kitchen. Jarred marinara is the ultimate shortcut for adding slow-cooked flavor in seconds, making this weeknight dinner incredibly easy and low effort .
Get the recipe: Mussels Marinara
Soy Sauce: Soy Sauce-Marinated Silken Tofu with Rice
This vegan-friendly recipe is so flavorful and satisfying, even meat-lovers will want it on repeat. Marinating creamy silken tofu infuses tons of flavors with almost no effort, while broccoli and brown rice deliver a major dose of fiber and vitamins. Plus, this plant-based protein is an affordable option for a meatless Monday.
Get the recipe: Soy Sauce-Marinated Silken Tofu with Rice
Sweet Chili Sauce: Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce
Achieve sweet and spicy flavors in no time by mixing frozen mango chunks with bottled Thai chili sauce. It’s a great way to elevate chicken, with just five ingredients and 30 minutes, your tastebuds will feel like they’re in the tropics.
Get the recipe: Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce
Barbecue Sauce: BBQ Chicken Ramen with Corn
It’s a must-have on ribs and chicken, but what about…ramen? This lightning-fast dish is a game-changer for barbecue sauce lovers and anyone who wants the ease of instant noodles with the flavor of a homecooked meal. Just half a cup of your favorite smoky-sweet sauce rounds out this satisfying meal-in-one with shredded rotisserie chicken and frozen corn that’s ready to slurp in less than 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: BBQ Chicken Ramen with Corn
Vodka Sauce: One-Pan Penne alla Vodka
For those days when you’re too tired to cook, this hands-free pasta is a game-changer. Penne noodles and luscious vodka sauce cook completely in the oven in a single pan. This one pan recipe is almost TOO easy.
Get the recipe: One-Pan Penne alla Vodka
Teriyaki Sauce: Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken and Ramen Noodles
Ramen night gets a makeover with this sheet pan chicken recipe. Cooking the noodles in the oven makes them extra crispy, while store-bought teriyaki sauce adds all the flavors without the effort.
Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken and Ramen Noodles
Marinara Sauce: Ravioli with Quick Turkey Bolognese
Italian comfort food has never been easier than this semi-homemade recipe that’s ready to satisfy in just 15 minutes. Make prepared marinara sauce your own, and dial up the flavor and nutrient-content, by adding ground turkey for a quick and easy, lighter take on Bolognese.
Get the recipe: Ravioli with Quick Turkey Bolognese
Red Pepper Pesto: Baked Chicken Breasts with Red Pepper Pesto
Roasted red peppers are an easy way to level up store-bought pesto. Pair it with your favorite protein, like these lean chicken breasts, or ladle over your favorite pasta. The results are finger-licking good.
Get the recipe: Baked Chicken Breasts with Red Pepper Pesto