We didn't start solid's 'till well into Jax' sixth month, and by then, he was all about self-feeding. We had a LOT of baby foods given to us and he was not really impressed with letting someone else spoon feed. So, I've been using baby foods in a variety of other ways.
The fruits go into yummy spreads or smoothies (it's just pureed fruits after all). They also go into lots of sweets recipes replacing one egg with about a half a jar (2 ounces) of baby food... which means your cookie dough or cake batter is now salmonella free and oh-so-edible. The veggies go into sauces, casseroles and patties. I find that things that are fried take a little less one egg with about a quarter jar (1 ounce) of baby food, with baked goods using the above ratio.
After tweaking a recipe (from a website I cannot remember or find, I hate not giving credit!), I have come up with my son's new favorite way to consume "baby food." I call them "Num Num Nummies" which is a bizarre amalgamation from yummy and Nom Nom Nom. I realize this means an entire group of breast feeding children will be very confused... but you could just call them "Jax' Snacks" and be OK. The other cool thing I can tell you about this recipe, as a social worker, is that baby food and baby cereal are often a part of WIC packages for low-income mothers and babies who are part of that awesome government nutrition program.
Ingredients8 ounces of baby food (2 Jars) in just about any flavor (Jax really likes sweet potato)
1 cup of infant cereal (Jax is a big fan of barley) or another flour type
1 cup flour (The gluten makes it sticky, but I haven't experimented)
2 teaspoons baking powder (this is to make it rise... again, I'm sure you could use something with similar properties).
Dump all the goodness into a bowl and stir until it starts to be one big ball. My batch looked like this:
So I added more, flour (about 1/4 cup), until it looked like this:
Then lump the whole thing onto a greased cookie sheet and dump a little flour on top so it won't be sticky (you could also roll it out, but I'm all about easy clean-up).
Using the flour and your hands, (or a big spoon if the goo thing weirds you out), smush it until it's about a half inch thick all over.
Find a long, thin, flat, greased implement to score the dough into half inch strips all the way across. Basically you're pre-cutting it by pushing something down to the pan. (I sometimes use a butcher knife, the edge of a thin cutting board)
Then score the other direction creating squares. (I gave up and used a spatula this time since I couldn't find either of my preferred tools).
Should look something like this before popping in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes (Feel free to pull it out sooner if the edges look like they're getting much darker than the rest).
The bottom should be firm and look bubbly.
Tear apart using your handy dandy pre-cut guidelines and VOILA! Jax' snacks way cheaper than puffs. (The above pictures are from the sweet potato barley version... the below shot and action shots of Jax eating are carrot barley... in case you were wondering about the color difference)
Do you have a great use for baby foods? Got a great recipe for folks on WIC? Brilliant tweaks to this recipe?