Homemade In-n-Out Animal Fries

We haven’t been to Southern California in a little over 3 months now. That means that the In-n-Out withdrawal, the so-called “out-n-out,” has finally set in. Luckily for us, with AK‘s creativity and SP‘s methodicalness, we have a temporary solution until our next visit West. Or South. Wherever there’s burgers.


We’ve tried a few different ways of making what we miss most: animal style fries. People like the burgers and all, but for us, it’s all about that extremely saucy, super oniony fry mixture that gets our motors running. There are some serious bummer recipes out there that basically say that Thousand Island dressing is the same thing. They’re wrong. Here’s the closest we’ve come:


  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (or a little extra) Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Basically you mix all of it and set it in the fridge for a couple hours for maximum impact. But making it looks a little funny.


Heinz for the appropriate taste.


Maaaayo. Maaaaaaaaaaaayo. Daylight come and me wanna make fries.




We relish making this sauce.


You can also add a bit of garlic powder if you want.


If you went to Kindergarten, you may remember that you get different colors when you mix stuff together.

Ok, so the sauce is made. The next important part is the umyum. This part is even more tricky than mixing the sauce because it requires patience, varying temperatures, and a keen eye. We’ll leave the eyeball part to AK.


White onion outperforms yellow onion in this mixture.


Dice. (Yes there’s yellow onion back there that we were going to use for our Sloppy Joes.)


A tbsp and a half of vegetable oil, and throw in the onions.


Leave it on super low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. For serious. Just leave it alone. SP STOP OPENING IT TO CHECK ON THEM!


After that 30 minutes, bring the heat up and stir for about 6-8 minutes. Then throw in 1/4-1/2 cup of water, leaving it on hot, and let the water cook out. This will help loosen any stubborn bits of umyum and help the flavor get a bit smoky.

Ok. Now it’s time to build our animal fries. We may be a bit sacrilegious because we aren’t using cheese, but then again, we can’t source In-n-Out fries either. So this can only be a temporary fix.


We used some Ore Ida “zesties.” They’re great seasoned fries to make in the oven and really good quality fries no matter the style you get. 


Get some of the umyums on there.




Served tonight alongside some homemade Untidy Josephs.

Please feel free to try the recipe and give us your feedback!

Man it feels good to type up some stuff again. Catch you on the flip-flop?


[FHCx346] National Noodle Ring Day


We didn’t know what a noodle ring was before this food holiday challenge. Apparently lots of cultures use the ring form to make baked noodles, ranging from Italian (timballo, if that counts) to Ashkenazi (kugel in ring form). We like noodles well enough, and have enjoyed them plenty throughout the year like Noodle Day, but today was a special challenge to try something new. We lifted this recipe and gave it a shot.



You remember Bundt Day, right…?


A whole bunch of stuff (go read the recipe!). Most of the flavor comes from a can of cream of mushroom soup, the cheese, and the broccoli…


With some strong help from Lipton’s Onion Soup mix. This stuff is the business. We’d make anything with it.


Cook a bunch of egg noodles and then pour them in. 


Should we just eat it as is?


Pack it into the pan. Set into 350F for almost an hour. We ended up doing about 55 minutes.



Drumroll pleeeeease!




What it looks like at a cross-section.

It tasted like cheesy onion-y cream of mushroom stuff. Best part was that SP worked with SPom and SPad to make it, and then got to serve it with AKma and AKpa. Family gathering for the win!

Tomorrow is National Ambrosia Day and National Gingerbread House Day.


[FHCx326] National Stuffing Day

Get stuffed!


Thanksgiving is upon us. And when we are told by the Food Holideities that we need to have stuffing today even though we are going to have it on Thursday (and leftovers the following days), we will answer the call. Stovetop style. There’s a reason that this is the number 1 stuffing. It’s so good.

By the way, it doesn’t actually have to be stuffed in anything. Even in the places where it’s called, “dressing” (which is an affront to the food just like “Duck Duck Goose” is incorrect), you don’t actually have to dress anything with it. Just eat it.


Mmmmmm breadyonionyawesomeness.

Tomorrow is National Cranberry Relish Day!


[FHCx323] National Vichyssoise Day


Cold. Soup. Yay.

Vichyssoise is controversial because the French say the Americans invented it, and the Americans say the French invented it. It’s like neither wants to take credit (or blame) for the creation of this soup. Maybe because it’s not really all that good?

In theory, pureed potatoes and leeks with some cream and stock sounds like it could be great. Potatoes and onion-y flavor is not exactly the gross end of any spectrum anywhere. SPom and SPad were up to the challenge of making this one.


It was better when heated up. Overall, we’re glad we got to have it. AK suggested that it tasted like a liquid pringle. Just imagine that for a bit.

Tomorrow is National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day!


[FHCx174] National Onion Rings Day/National Chocolate Éclair Day

Today is good for your heart.


When faced with the choice of french fries, tots, or onion rings at a place like Blue Door Pub, your likelihood of popping a blood vessel increases tenfold. How can you say no to any one of those things? A bar staple, the onion ring stands up next to its fried buddies very, very well. SP has always wondered why onion rings are so different in different restaurants and here’s the conclusion:

Battered vs. Breaded. That’s it.

Breaded – Hand-coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Crunchy and makes a fun mess. Often has bigger slices of onions than battered. Examples of Breaded that we love: Red Robin‘s Onion Tower, Tony Roma’s Onion Loaf, Timberlodge Steakhouse‘s Paul Bunyan Onion.

Battered – Battered, frequently with a beer batter and buttermilk, and deep fried. Very crispy. Examples of Battered that we love: Stout’s Pub‘s Onion Rings, George and the Dragon‘s Onion Rings, and The Hat‘s Onion Rings.

While we wish we could celebrate at all of these places today, here’s our sad attempt at eating onion rings:

2016-06-22 16.26.43

2016-06-22 16.28.14

Easier to manage and not overdo it.

We’ll have real onion rings again someday.

It’s also chocolate éclair day. If you haven’t had a chocolate éclair in a while, you’ve probably forgotten how amazing they are. It’s like having a cream puff without excessive mess (there’s still a mess) and with chocolate. What’s better? Very little. Profiteroles, we suppose.

Éclair means “flash of lightning” because that is the speed at which you are supposed to eat them! We tried to slow ourselves down for these.

2016-06-22 20.33.13

Everybody talks about how these Target éclairs are amazing. We had to try them.

2016-06-22 20.34.19

Bavarian creme filled

2016-06-22 20.34.22

Peanut butter.

2016-06-22 20.35.07


What a glorious day!

Tomorrow is National Pecan Sandy Day.


[FHCx83] National Chip and Dip Day/National Melba Toast Day

It’s a chip and dip!


Oh boy are we excited for today! Chips are awesome. Dips are awesome. Let’s make a mash-up (and we’ll throw some Melba Toast in to help with the dip!).

We present: The SPAK Chip and Dip Experience, March 2016:

2016-03-23 16.08.11.jpg

Three dips represented: AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta, SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip, and SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip

Alright alright, here are the recipes…

AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta:

  • 5 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Basically you just mix it all up once everything is chopped. It’s HEAVENLY. We could eat Bruschetta day in and day out, despite the fact that neither SP nor AK typically enjoy raw tomatoes! That’s the power of this dish.

SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip (made by SPad himself for the holiday, thanks SPad!):

  • 3 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

First you have to “overcook” the eggplants in the microwave after drizzling with oil. Make sure to cover it in wax paper first! Alternatively you can roast or grill them in foil. Once softened and fully cooked, scoop the flesh out of the skin and let it cool. Then you can finely chop/mince the flesh of the eggplant. Blend in the remaining ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator at least overnight.

This dish has been a hallmark of holiday hors d’oeuvres in the SPamily household. Thanksgiving, Passover, you name it, this eggplant dip is there. The recipe, handed down in SP‘s paternal family, will make you love the eggplant more than any other dish. Serve it with crackers or chips or melba toast. This dip is on point.

SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip (made by SP for the holiday. Sorry SPom.):

  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 5.33 oz non-fat plain greek yogurt (We used Chobani)
  • Goodman’s Onion Soup Mix – alternatively, the Lipton one is also amazing because it has bigger onion bits in it.

This is the smallest recipe represented here today, but it’s the most popular dip for chips around these parts. Whenever there are cold cuts dinners, this dip is often found sitting next to some Old Dutch Rip-L chips. It’s really up to you how much of the onion soup mix you want to put in but in this house we like to lay it on there (AK, excitedly: “Whole thing! Whole thing! Whole thing!”). Make sure you’ve got some water on hand to help counteract the saltiness of the soup mix! This dip is creamy and flavorful and leaves the most amazing taste in your mouth. Stop reading this and go make some!!

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, much to AK‘s displeasure.


[FHCx69] National Meatball Day/National Crabmeat Day

Another duo…


We didn’t put this one together into one holiday. For meatballs, SP tried out The Meatball Spot (doesn’t have a website?) at the Mall of America. Figured it can’t be too bad for meatballs if that’s in the name.

2016-03-09 11.15.34.jpg

Eh, they were meatballs.

For the second part of today, SP whipped up his classic crab salad for sandwiches.

2016-03-09 17.08.11

24 oz “crab meat”

2016-03-09 17.15.21

4 Tbsp Mayo, 2 Tbsp fat free plain yogurt, garlic, onion, and celery salt

2016-03-09 17.16.33

Green onions

It’s amazing. You really have to try it sometime. We serve it on toasted hot dog buns for the lobster roll effect.

Tomorrow is Blueberry Popover Day!