Spaghetti and Meatballs Like Mom’s but in Half the Time

After I moved into my first apartment, my mom would call on a daily basis. Not to confirm her love for me, or just to say hi. She called to make sure I was eating—regularly. The woman was desperately worried that, as an adult with new adult responsibilities, I would forget how to care for myself. Truth is, though, I appreciated those calls. There were weeks when I existed solely by the grace of takeout menus. Thinking I had no time to cook for myself, I missed my mother’s home-cooking even more and her phone calls helped curb a bit of that longing. That is, until I discovered soup starter kits, pizza crusts, salad topping and even jarred pasta sauce. What a relief it was, not only to enjoy hearty meals I’d made quickly on my own stove, but to have leftovers for lunch the next day. In the end, I saved more time and money by not relying on food delivery and instead utilizing a few simple, smart shortcuts.

We may not have the time to cook that our mothers once had, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare the same delicious dishes we loved growing up. Nowadays, we have options…and the best part is that we don’t have to sacrifice flavor for convenience. That’s because our secret weapons have improved with time, and that includes our go-to pasta sauce.

Here are three recipes that I make just like my mom did, but in half the time thanks to jarred sauce.

Speedy Sausage Meatball Skillet: With only 6 ingredients and a 30-minute prep time, this skillet version of everyone’s favorite, spaghetti and meatballs, is a total lifesaver on days when I’m late getting home. I cook my pasta and prepare the meatballs at the same time. Everything else goes into the skillet and out comes dinner. Easy-peasy.

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Easy Chicken Parmesan: Friends think I spend hours making my famous chicken Parmesan, but this savory dish requires only 10 minutes of preparation. I won’t tell if you won’t! This is also one of my favorite spaghetti recipes.

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Spaghetti Bake: Any leftovers from the dishes above are perfect starters for this quick and easy baked pasta recipe. I love the crunchy, cheesy corners and the way my home fills with the smell of roasted tomatoes whenever I pop this into the oven.

How do you use pasta sauce to save time and add rich flavor to your favorite dishes?

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