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Magda’s Moroccan Homemade Hamburger Helper

The other day, I had a delicious lamb tagine. It was a lovingly made, braised dish that took the chef hours to prepare. Though I generally dislike lamb, the chef used Australian lamb (which is a bit less game) and added enough wonderful Moroccan flavours, that I thoroughly enjoyed the dish. Regardless of how delicious I found it, I knew that it would never appeal to my picky son.

So . . .. I created this month’s recipe which aims to mimic the flavours of a traditional tagine with a quick and easy preparation and with main ingredients I knew would appeal to my son and to most kids, ground meat and pasta. It was a huge hit!

Moroccan Homemade Hamburger Helper

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork, whatever suits your fancy)
  • 4 cups hot water (I boil it in a kettle, but you can use hot tap water)
  • 1/2 pound short pasta (bow ties, macaroni or other)
  • 5-7 dried apricots, roughly chopped (or whatever dried fruit you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted on a pan (or chopped nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Carrot Ribbon Salad

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cilantro (finely diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the cornstarch and spices in a small bowl.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet.
  3. When hot, cook the diced onions until translucent.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until browned through. Drain excess fat.
  5. Sprinkle the spices over the meat. Add the hot water and the pasta.
  6. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 15 minutes or so, until all the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  7. Stir in the chopped apricots, honey and sesame seeds and cook for an additional minute.
  8. Serve with a salad. I made the carrot ribbon salad below.

Directions for Carrot Ribbon Salad

  1. Scrub carrots and then use a peeler to create carrot ribbons.
  2. I blanche my carrots as my son and husband are allergic to raw carrots, but you can just use them raw.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients into a dressing.
  4. Pour just enough dressing over the carrots to coat, but not so it drips.
Magda’s Frugal Tip: Keep your mouth shut at the dentist — OK, so I don’t mean that literally, however, you may want to keep the chatter to a minimum. I have a great relationship with my dental hygienist, we have a lot in common and we both love to chat. However, my hygienist and my dentist and many other professionals, charge by the time spent in their office, not the time that they actually spend working. So, while you are relating the latest funny incident in your life, your dental health professionals cannot actually be doing what they need to do in your mouth and you are paying them to listen to you chat. So, perhaps you should keep you mouth open, but keep the chat to a minimum at least at the dentist’s office.