Ro-Tel: Go Tell Everyone

Yes, go tell everyone how wonderful this canned (yes, canned) Southern pantry staple is and how helpful it can be to any "whole food" cook at home.

If you've never heard of it, Ro*Tel is just a little can of zingy, spicy, put-a-pep-in-your-step diced tomatoes with diced green chillies. Yup, that's it, but the addition of this simple concoction perks up most "normal" recipes. I've used it to develop a squash recipe; added it to a low-carb Mexican soup to replace the volume of tortillas and to spice things up enough to call the soup Mexican Pho; used it to make a quick Mexican-like casserole; stirred it into a jar of store-bought salsa to make it fresher tasting; and cooked it in a frittata and many a breakfast casserole. Why, I've even mixed it with lentils for a spicy anytime side to grilled meats.

Ro*Tel is so popular, that the awesome Roy Blount Jr.wrote about it in his "End of the Line" column for "Garden & Gun" magazine.

Here's one of my recipes for squash with Ro*Tel:

1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 c chopped sweet yellow onions
12 c yellow squash (cut into thick slices or 2" batons)
2 (10 oz) cans Ro*Tel Original
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped