This [another] post I was planning on doing (yep, still gonna do it!), but some quick comments: There are basically two components to this topic, the food and the cook system.

Those bulky, expensive, freeze-dried, prepacked meals are one option (routinely used by beginners), those "Meals Ready to Eat" (MREs) are another option, but these are also bulky, and can be expensive and heavy. The companies that make them are pretty-much the same, but only a few make REAL M.R.E. meals for the military, the others are privately owned companies and some are even in China. I wouldn't recommend that either, but I would recommend one or two of those "brick-'o'-food" packets for day hikers (I like May Day).

Frankly, I suggest you just go to your local supermarket and really LOOK at anything that is dehydrated or "instant." While you can put together some elaborate plastic bag meals, you need to plan your meals from a "ration" frame of mind. Remember, it may be dehydrated, but the weight ADDS UP! For a simple example, one of my favorite camp meals is spaghetti in Alfredo sauce with Parmesan cheese and some smoked clams. Simple, cheap, easy, and totally packable!

My minimalist cook system uses a small canister of MSR gas, a micro stove (lots of these on the market), a 750ml titanium pot and lid, a spork, and even part of my "hobo stove" as a windscreen. If I run out of gas, I combine the lid and the windscreen to make my hobo stove, then I can cook forever with nothing but handfulls of woodchips and sticks. But this brings up a related topic... FUEL! I can get up to almost two weeks on one of those small MSR gas canisters. "HOW?!" you ask?

First, I use a gadget that transfers fuel, to OVER-fill the can to capacity. Second, I try to use only instant food (instant rice, beans, soups, etc.). Third, If I know I want to cook breakfast the next morning, I take a bottle of water to bed (raising the water temperature), lowering the amount of fuel I need to get a boil. Fourth, I don't turn the stove to high, I only use enough flame to heat the bottom of my pot. Fifth, I use that part of my hobo stove to keep the wind/breeze from blowing the flame out or pushing the flame off the bottom of the pot. And sixth, I turn off the flame BEFORE the food is fully cooked and let the food rehydrate or finish cooking on its own, but I also wrap the pot in a scarf or whatever clothing I have handy, so the heat stays with the pot/food.

More to come....