OK, I don't mind being the one to come to the defense of the dehydrated/freezed dried, pre-packaged aficionados.
I've tried a lot of brands, but seem to keep coming back to Mountain House, although I'm up for any brand that I find tasty and easy to handle.
They are simple, easy, and pretty darned tasty!
They are neither bulky nor heavy.
I transfer the meal to a quart size zip lock type FREEZER* bag, to minimize weight and bulkiness.
I add boiling water and tuck the bag into my little homemade cozy and wait about 20min, and voila', I'm eating with my long handled aluminum spoon.
Pro tip #1: A long handle spoon is all you should ever need for backpacking. It must be long handled to keep you knuckles out of the lasagna!
Pro tip#2: Not as hungry as you thought? Carry a few extra FREEZER zip locks and pour out a little of your meal from the original zip lock into the second and save for later.
Pro tip#3: FREEZER zip locks are what you need because you can pour BOILING water safely into them.
Again, once you transfer your meal from the original packaging into a small zip lock, they roll up nice and small.
I do this also for my breakfast oatmeal.
This works for me because I used the KISS principle, Keep It Simple. (not going to say what the second S stands for).
That, and the fact I hate to 'cook' and hate even more having to clean out a cooking pot.
Many of my friends are very creative and love to prepare the most fantastic meals at home, everything from freeze drying, to dehydrating, to smoking on a grill. That makes for great tasting and conversation around the campfire.
I myself was dehydrating for a long time, but fall back on purchasing the meals, mainly to keep it simple.
Pro Tip #4: When I was dehydrating my wife's fantastic chili, I discovered that after drying, if I ran it through a grinder, in my case, my wife's hank crank pastry nut grinder (don't tell her), the difference when reconstituted was night-and-day, it really made a huge difference in taste and consistency.
Come to think of it, isn't backpacking just getting to your next campsite so you can eat?