In the past, we've told you how to eat from a big batch of farro and even covered how to use a whole can of chipotle chiles in adobo all week long. Now, in this next installment of actually functional meal prep, we're making a ton of tomato sauce and using it throughout the week in meat loaf, pizza, burritos, and more.
Step one: Make a big batch of Basic Marinara sauce. With canned crushed tomatoes, aromatics, and balsamic vinegar, this recipe yields about 12 cups, enough for a week's worth of saucing needs (if you really wanted to think ahead, you could make a double batch and store some in the freezer). However, you could also use your favorite store-bought sauce for these suppertime suggestions.
Step two: Use your sauce throughout the week in these seven dishes. Now, who says meal planning has to be hard?
Pasta: It's the most obvious one, so let's get it out of the way first. Take your favorite pasta (for marinara, a long thin shape like spaghetti or fettuccine that allows this non-meaty sauce to cling to it is ideal), heat marinara sauce, then toss with cooked pasta. Top with whatever you like: grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, toasted garlicky breadcrumbs, and/or fresh herbs like basil and parsley.
Old-Fashioned All-American Meat Loaf: Here, tomato sauce is used both in the meat loaf and in the loaf's topping, adding complexity to an often flavor-lacking dish entree. Serve it for dinner one night and make meat loaf sandwiches for lunch the next day.
Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce: Inspired by Middle Eastern shakshuka, this dish makes for an easy and filling dinner. Simply bring your tomato sauce to a simmer, slip your eggs in one at a time, cover the pan until the eggs are set, and top with crumbled feta cheese and chopped cilantro. Serve with bread or toasted pita.
Herbed Cheese Pizza: Making your own pizza dough isn't as hard as you think, however you can also use your favorite store-bought crust or buy some from your favorite local pizza place. Shape the dough into individual pies, top with marinara sauce, kasseri cheese (a sharp, salty cheese that can be substituted for mozzarella or provolone), bake, and sprinkle with minced fresh parsley.
Parmesan Polenta and Spicy Sausage Sauce: First, sauté your favorite sausage—the recipe calls for sun-dried tomato chicken sausage, but you can go with whatever does it for ya—add the marinara sauce and some crushed red pepper (more or less depending on your desired spice level) and simmer for a bit until the sauce thickens, then stir in basil. Top quick-cooking polenta with the sauce, more basil, and grated Parmesan cheese. Boom: An easy, restaurant-worthy dinner in about a half hour.
Huevos Rancheros Burritos: Heat marinara sauce and jazz it up with a minced canned chipotle chile in adobe adobo sauce. Fill tortillas with the sauce, black beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, and cilantro and roll up. You can also freeze these for up to 3 months for future breakfasts, lunch, and brinner (that's breakfast-dinner).
Eggplant Involtini: For this vegetarian main, fill broiled eggplant slices with a garlicky, cheesy, and herbaceous ricotta mixture and place in a baking dish with marina sauce, covering with more sauce and cheese. Bake and sprinkle with basil.