Now that I'm on my own, I find I also lean towards making things from scratch. It's cheaper. It tastes better. It's more satisfying. And let's be honest, when I work from home like I do the majority of the year, it's pretty easy for me to live a "made from scratch" life.
When I'm home all day, I just don't find it very time consuming to make things from scratch. Homemade bread may require 3+ hours of time, but it doesn't require my undivided attention that whole time. It's easy enough to mix up the dough and leave it to rise to rise while I go do something else, then return to shape loaves, leave again to do whatever, pop the bread in the oven and go do something else while the bread bakes. If I'm smart about it, I can get a good 2 hours of work done during the whole bread baking process. I make my marinara sauce by throwing all the ingredients in a crockpot and let it burble away for 4-5 hours for a total hands-on time of 30 minutes. In fact, I use the crockpot as shortcut for lots of "made from scratch" stuff.
If I'm making this all sound like a snap, let me assure you that it all goes to hell in a hand basket when summer comes around. By mid-August, between working full time and berry picking, I pretty much give up on making things from scratch and I'm buying bread and spaghetti sauce along with everyone else. So every spring I come up with this great idea that I'm actually going stockpile the ingredients I like to make myself in the freezer and have enough to last through the busy summer season. Honestly, I've never managed to pull this off, but I persist in thinking it's a really good idea.
One ingredient I prefer to prepare at home are beans. It's about half as expensive to make your own cooked beans from dried beans, rather buying cooked and canned beans. You can also better control how much sodium's in your bean recipes by making your own beans. And you can cook up large batches, which saves me the trouble of having to buy canned beans nearly every week. (We eat a lot of beans.)
The other day we were running low on frozen beans, so I cooked up a batch each of kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans over the course of three days. Here's a pictorial guide to the last batch, the garbanzos.
Turn your crockpot on high and walk away. I put an old towel around the base of the crockpot to soak up the water that will inevitably boil over. Be warned, bean water does not smell great, so you'll want to wash that towel that in timely manner. (Lesson learned.)
You can thaw out the beans in the fridge before you use them, but honestly, I'm never that organized and usually just throw them in frozen into whatever recipe I'm making and increase the cooking time a bit. Remember, these aren't salted, so you may have to add extra salt to your recipe.
Now I've got a good summer stockpile of beans, but there's plenty of bread baking and sauce making if I'm really going to make it through the summer . . .