A can or two of tomato sauce can go a long way when planning meals for your family. You can use the sauce to make a number of pasta dishes and casseroles as well as a topping for meats and eggs. Making your own sauce is usually quick and simple, and you can freeze leftovers. If you'd rather not make sauce, you can use bottled or canned.
For a quick meal that will be on the table in 20 minutes or less, prepare your family's favorite pasta shape and heat up a jar of tomato sauce. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and serve with a mixed green salad and whole grain bread. Top your salad with your family's favorite raw veggies and a creamy Parmesan or Caesar dressing. Dress up the tomato sauce by adding your favorite quick-cooking vegetables, fresh herbs or browned ground meat. Other pasta meals that use tomato sauce include lasagna and baked ziti. While these meals take a little more time than simply coating noodles with sauce, you can prepare extra in advance to freeze and reheat later.
Pizza is a fun meal for adults and children. It's also very simple to make at home, especially if you use pre-made dough. You can also use English muffins or pita bread as the crust, which makes the process even simpler. Top the pizza with the sauce, and then add your favorite cheese and any toppings you'd like. For a twist on the traditional pizza, try topping the crust with the cheese first, then adding the tomato sauce. Include more vegetables in your pizza dinner by serving a salad. Add bell peppers, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms. To make everyone happy, provide a selection of salad dressing. Italian, creamy balsamic and ranch work well with this meal.
Tomato sauce can play a key role in a number of different casseroles. Make a taco-inspired casserole by mixing cooked ground beef or turkey with tomato sauce. Layer the sauce-coated meat with crushed tortilla chips, roasted peppers and cheese in a baking dish. Add crushed chili pepper to some tomato sauce and use it to coat enchiladas. Get creative by mixing your favorite meat and vegetables with the sauce, then add a grain such as rice to the mixture and pour into a dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly. Serve a side salad with creamy chipotle dressing to complement the spices in the taco casserole. If your kids don't like spicy food, offer a cool, creamy ranch dressing.
Eggplant or chicken Parmesan wouldn't be complete with a coating of tomato sauce. To save time, use pre-breaded chicken cutlets or pre-sliced eggplant. You can also bread and fry the chicken or eggplant if you prefer. Mix tomato sauce with ground beef or pork and serve on top of sandwich buns for simple sloppy Joes. Add a side salad with creamy dressing and a baked sweet potato to balance out the meal. Use tomato sauce at breakfast by pouring it on top of eggs and toast.
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