Here’s How the Pioneer Woman Uses Jarred Marinara Sauce for Lazy, Delicious Dinners

Some nights, we feel inspired to whip up a gourmet version of our favorite Thai dinner from scratch. Other nights, we’re reaching for that box of stale cereal. So what’s the key to striking a happy balance between lazy and, well, not cereal? According to Ree Drummond, it’s all about how you stock your pantry.

Amid a conversation with the Pioneer Woman herself (we were chatting about her new line of dog treats with Purina), Drummond also revealed her go-to pantry staples.

What’s in her lazy-dinner rotation? “I have my pantry staples. Pasta—different shapes, sizes, varieties; I love a good jarred pasta sauce, so I have a lot of good marinara sauces, and then the basics like onions and potatoes,” Drummond told us. “At any given time I want to be able to walk into my pantry and grab the makings of a meal, so I have the same rotation of the basics.”

OK, but here’s where it gets interesting: In addition to those, Drummond has a trick up her sleeve to keep a quick dinner from feeling bare-boned. “I have a fun shelf that has, like, different roasted peppers and all the little specialty pickles and olives and pestos—things that you can crack open in a jam and mix up the usual.” Finally, an excuse for those impulsive specialty olive purchases!

And as for the Pioneer Woman’s favorite emergency dinner staple? “When I really don’t feel like cooking, I reach for the prepared sauces. With a marinara, you can get a high-quality product and cheat. You can brown some chicken and pour it in, or put it over pasta and throw in some pesto.”

Ah, Ree. You’re a woman after our own heart. Permission to dump some red sauce on a plate of spaghetti, granted.

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...