Simple Moussaka

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 6, 2009

I’ve been wanting to try moussaka for a long time, but knew that I couldn’t pull it off for under $5. I used the recipe from Joy of Cooking and simplified it quite a bit. I did not use any Greek yogurts or cheeses. Yes, I know those are the KEY ingredients to the dish, but I’m trying to keep it frugal and simple here :)

Also, this seems to be “How to” week at $5 Dinners! From the split chicken breasts to the mangoes and now eggplant. I have always “feared” eggplant because I didn’t know what to do with it. Have that same problem? Fear no more. I’ve got step by step directions with photos below!

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Simple Moussaka

Ingredients

1 large eggplant ($2.08)
1/2 – 3/4 lb ground beef ($.75) Purchased marked down
1 can organic diced tomatoes ($.24) Used $1 off coupon
1 can organic tomato paste (Free!) Bought when on sale with $1 coupon
1 Tbsp olive oil ($.05)
1/2 onion, chopped ($.20)
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.02)
1 tsp sugar ($.02)
1/4 tsp cinnamon ($.02)
1/4 tsp paprika ($.02)
Salt/Pepper
1 egg ($.12)
4 slices provolone cheese ($.75)
1 cup (8 oz.) pasta ($1) I used whole wheat penne for use and rice elbow noddles of the boys
2 cups organic frozen green beans ($.50) Bought on sale with $1 coupon
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

1. Slice top and bottom off of eggplant so it will stand up. Slice lengthwise in 1/3 inch slices.
2. Lay eggplants slices out on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
3. In skillet add 2 Tbsp olive oil, chopped onion, crushed garlic and ground beef. Brown ground beef and drain. Return meat mixture to skillet and add diced tomatoes with their juices, can of tomato paste plus about 1/2 cup of water. Add cinnamon, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Cook meat mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens. Let sauce cool for a few minutes and then mix in 1 beaten egg.
4. After a half hour, little water beads will have formed on the eggplant. The salt draws out the water so that the eggplant will cook better.
5. Rinse and pat dry eggplants.
6. Place on olive oil greased cookie sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until eggplants are soft and slightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 350.
7. In 8×8 glass baking dish, line bottom with 2-3 eggplant slices, top with 1/3-1/2 meat mixture. Top meat with eggplant slices, and then again with meat mixture. Place last 2-3 eggplant slices on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Then top with provolone cheese (Omit if GFCFSF) and bake another 15-20 minutes. (This is where I simplified the recipe. I did not top with the Greek cheese and yogurt mixture.)
8. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Serve with olive oil, salt and pepper.
9. Cook green beans according to package instrucions.
10. Serve moussaka with side of pasta and green beans.

Cost $5.80 Little Splurge, but totally worth it :)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney Jackson April 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Thank you so much for posting the gfcf diet . My daughter has high function autism and even though I tried it religiously for months I have thought about doing it again (this time without soy) to see if it had any effect this time. The problem was it was so expensive. You have made it affordable. All the cookbooks on this are complicated and pricey so thanks again so much.

Maybe you should write your own book!

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Vegetarian Turkey May 31, 2009 at 7:16 am

Victory! At last I have found a site that answers my questions. Thank you from a very grateful heart. Dorothy Wildman.

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Christy June 12, 2009 at 12:20 am

Greek style yogurt is simply strained plain yogurt. Google it if you don’t believe me. : ) Set a strainer over a bowl, line it with either paper towels or cheese cloth, and dump it in to strain. It takes about 4-6 hours. The yogurt will almost peel off of the cloth when it’s done. It’s pretty cool.
Save the liquid (whey). It adds a pleasant tang to smoothies (and a bit of protein), and is great for adding that ‘something extra’ to rice. Seriously. Freeze it in ice cube trays. It’s worth the effort.

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Rhonda June 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

We loved this! The best recipe on the website!

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Kristen August 31, 2011 at 9:25 am

I am not familiar with moussaka. But I would like to try this since I love eating eggplant dishes. Maybe I need to buy skillet when I prepare this dish. Thanks for making it so detailed and include the affordable prices of the ingredients.

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