My youngest child is 9 months old and eating EVERYTHING in sight. She was gnawing on beef jerky this morning. Yes, you read that correctly. Beef jerky. We have not had to buy this child a single jar of baby food because she only wants to eat "grown up" food. A girlfriend of mine asked if I was "allowed" to feed the baby food that didn't come from a jar. So, I explained to her how to make homemade baby food and it got me thinking that maybe some other mom might like some of the tips that I've found have worked for us.
Our family uses infant cereal. We know all about the dirty secrets about it, but I find that it's an easy transition food when we start feeding the babies table food. We normally use the rice formula and then progress to mixed cereals and ones with fruit in them. However, that's the extent of our prepared baby food buying. Mashed up bananas are great for infants. We give very ripe avocados to her; which are extremely nutritious. My daughter liked to scrape sliced apples with her bottom teeth and chew soft pears too. Baked/microwaved sweet potatoes, yams, and white potatoes are great also. Eventually we moved on to meat sticks and peeled turkey dogs.
I've also made baby food that looks like commercial baby food. I suggest investing in a small food processor. You can get the tiny ones for around $15. I would take some of whatever we were eating and mash it in the food processor and viola! Instant baby food. Macaroni and cheese is so easy to make for all of the kids for any age. Mash up the baby's portion, and give the older children the whole pasta.
It's so easy to make baby food. We use Cheerios and fruit leathers for easy snacks for her. She loves to suck on any dried fruit and as of this morning, dried meat. Remember to have a baby try a new food at least 15 times before giving up. It can take a lot of times before they decide they like it.