"Has anyone found anything that is lighter than traditional thru-hiker fare (ie, mac n cheese, liptons, etc)?"
Dried pea, bean, or corn chowder soups. Dried refried black or pinto beans. Dried Potatoes. Cous cous. All of these, combined with olive oil, dried cheese(parmesan, "Just the Cheese", etc) will give you the base for a high calorie, tasty meal. Lots of things you can add to dress them up, e.g. dried tomato powder, dried veggies, bouillion cubes or powder. All of these ingredients except the olive oil are very compressible and lightweight(no water to speak of), and olive oil is as high calorie/oz as you can get.