Quick Marinara Sauce for Meatball Subs (and dipping)

I love the recipe I have for meatballs and marinara sauce. Sometimes, though, I just don’t want to wait to make my own and/or spend time simmering the sauce. Faster doesn’t mean a jarred sauce with lots of added salt and sugar, though.

I have a pretty easy marinara cheat I make with a can of tomato sauce. This sauce is also great for dipping breadsticks, pizza crusts, mozzarella sticks, etc. It comes together in no time at all and freezes beautifully, too.

Keeping extra meatballs around is just good housekeeping, in my opinion. They’re good for appetizers, with pasta and, of course, for making meatball subs. While I usually make double the meatballs to freeze some, you can find frozen Italian style meatballs at most grocery stores.

To make the meatball sub – While I make the sauce (recipe below), I pull out 3 or 4 meatballs from the freezer. I heat them through in the microwave and then slice them in half. I take slices of provolone cheese and place them on both sides of the hoagie roll and place under the broiler. When the cheese is bubbling, I pull the bread out, dunk the meatball slices in the sauce and then place them on the rolls to cover and pour over more of the sauce.

So quick! So easy! So delicious!

Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping and subs

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch each of salt, pepper and sugar

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until oil is shimmering. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Stir sauce, bring to a bubble and simmer 5 minutes over low heat. Taste for seasoning and add more, if necessary. Serve.

Lemon Sauce for Chicken

Lunch was leftover schnitzel. I’m treating it more like chicken piccata so I needed a lemon sauce to go over it. I didn’t want something harshly lemon but a more rounded sauce with the addition of garlic and milk that wouldn’t take a lot of time to make.

Had I been cooking the chicken, the flour that would have fallen off during browning would have been enough to thicken the sauce. As I’m just warming the chicken up, I needed to make a slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth as my thickener.

You can make the sauce richer by adding cream instead of milk.

This is light but rich sauce with good lemon flavor.

Lemon Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice and zest of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and sauté just until fragrant and slightly golden.

Pour in 1 1/4 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil, while scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Allow broth to simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together remaining chicken broth with cornstarch to form a slurry, then pour mixture into broth in skillet along with lemon juice and zest. Allow to simmer about 5 minutes until it has thickened slightly then remove from heat.

Stir in butter and pour in milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve warm.