As the nights get chillier and chillier, nothing is more comforting than snacking on something spicy, cheesy, and delicious. When I was young, my family would whip together this snack on many occasions. Superbowl, Academy Awards, or a movie night called for none other than the classic, old-school snack of RO*TEL.

For those who don't know, RO*TEL is a brand of canned tomatoes that began in the 40s in Elsa, Texas. RO*TEL is most known for their canned diced tomatoes and green chilies seasoned with flavorful spices. Carl Roettele, founder of this fine Texas canning company, came up with the name RO*TEL knowing that folks would have a tough time pronouncing Roettele. RO*TEL with a little Texas star in the middle of its name has provided America with these recipe makers for over 70 years. Now you can purchase RO*TEL in a variety of spice levels, milder and extra hot, as well as Mexican or Italian but the RO*TEL I crave is the original.

These affordable canned tomatoes are the perfect item to stock in your pantry. Grab one of these cans to add loads of flavor to any soup, casserole, chili, or dip. My favorite RO*TEL recipe has got to be the "Famous RO*TEL Cheese Dip". This simple guilty pleasure involves 2 ingredients, a one pound block of Velveeta or other processed cheese and one can diced RO*TEL tomatoes and green chilies. The hardest part of this recipe is picking up the giant block of Velveeta cheese in the grocery store and ignoring the fact that the recipe calls for one whole pound of yellow processed cheese. All concerns about this fact go straight out the window when you scoop up some creamy, cheesy and hot RO*TEL Cheese Dip with a tortilla chip.

Cut the Velveeta into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the RO*TEL tomatoes and green chilies. Pop the bowl into the microwave and nuke for about 3 minutes. Stir and microwave for another 3 minutes. Repeat if necessary until you reach the desired consistency. Serve piping how with a large bowl of your favorite tortilla chips. Best enjoyed with a group of people, near a fireplace, under a blanket in front of the television.

Check out more RO*TEL recipes like Southwest Lasagna, Tex Mex Chili, and Baked Macaroni and Cheese at http://www.texmex.net/Rotel/main.htm.
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