Having a pantry stocked with home-preserved local foods makes it easy to get dinner on the table, even on busy nights. I whipped up some great spaghetti sauce for dinner last week using a quart jar of Mildred's Basil-Tomato Juice I had canned, tomatoes I dehydrated last fall, and a pound of ground beef I bought from Kathey Linn at the farmers market. I pulverized the dried tomatoes in a mini food processor to thicken the juice and add body to the sauce. They didn't get entirely turned to powder and the little pieces that remained plumped up nicely when cooked.
Here's the recipe:
1 quart tomato juice (you could also use v-8 juice)
2 ounces dried tomatoes (not the kind packed in oil-just dehydrated)
1 pound ground beef or venison
2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or very finely minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt or to taste (careful--there is quite a bit of salt in canned tomato juice!)
Process the dried tomatoes in a small food processor into very fine pieces. Brown the beef in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the tomato juice and add the processed dried tomatoes, basil and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover partially (to minimize splattering) and simmer to desired thickness, about 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over hot pasta with a bit of freshly grated parmesan on top.