From my days of mountaineering:
Prepackage everythig into ZipLock bags so you have one meal in one bag with all ingrediants ready to go inside perhaps little sandwich bags. Maybe write directions on a piece of paper and stuff it inside. Then use a marker to label the bag.
You can make an almost unlimited types of meals
using simple ingredients:
Pasta not too thick, par boiled rice or "minute rice", lentils. Use differnt shapes and colors of pasta to make each meal different. Little things like that help on a long trip.
I like freeze dried vegetables but adding fresh is not bad either if you have them. Cut them into small pices so they cook quicker.
Sun Dried Tomatoes taste great and have the texture of real meat. You can dry vegetables yourself if you live in a dry climate using window screens in bright sun. Just store them in air tight containers. But you can buy them too. Freeze dried vegetables can be bought in bulk but generally means really large amounts.
Dried soup mixes like Knorr or "cup a soup" add flavor. Mix and match as required to make a lot of different neals. canned soups work too but add weight.
Canned meats like tuna or chicken or just go vegetarian. A n 9 oz. can of tuna is enough for 3 people with all the rest of the stuff. Figure about two big bowls per person. Serve one full round to each and a round of seconds to make sure folks are full.
The way to cook all this stuff is to start with a pot of cold water
and add to it from the start. Don't preapre things like you do at home. This process will make a meal for 4 people in under 15 minutes sometimes less. You don't need to boil water
first and have it liable to fly around. You start cooking
as soon as the stove is on.
Lentils take a few hours to soak first but the rest starts with the cold water. Dried beans take a lot longer to soak and cook but if you like them they work well too. They use more fuel
Add vegetables, and pasta / rice to cold water and slowly bring to a boil. You are not attempting to get to boil quickly so use a low to medium burner flame. This lets the hard stuff slowly start cooking
. As you get closer to a boil add any canned meat. Once you start boiling add any dried soup. Let it boil for about 3 minutes and then cover with the stove turned off. In about 5 mintes it's done cooking.
You can make dinners for 2, 3 or 4 people this way pretty easy and you can save a whole lot of fuel
. One pot meals
are great in foul / cold weather
and using this method they clean up easily since you don't cook for long periods at high heat.
Prepackaging makes it easy for one person to just throw it together and the cooking instructions are almost all the same so anyone can be a good cook.
The trick is to experiment
with different ingrediants of the things people like adding different spices. You can do all this without any refrigeration
and pack a months worth of meals in a small space. We have done 21 day backpacking trips and ate very well this way so it can be done with light weight and small volume and prepared in absolutely terrible weather
For an emergency
breakfast: Add granola, died fruit Or freeze dried berries with powered milk (the powdered 1% butter fat milk is not bad). Then you just add water and eat it direct from the bag. Again the prepackaging is the key.
from the store has so much wasted packaging and you fuss with it a lot. When you pre-measure quanties ahead of time you can save space and tme later during the trip. Cooking a full meal can be easier underway with all the dumb stuff done ahead of time.