Rotel Dip is annoyingly delicious and too easy to make. The recipe below has three ingredients and only one of them requires effort on the cook’s part. You’ll need a can opener, a pair of scissors and fingers supple enough to open a package of cheese and one of bulk sausage.

Assembly cooking, where one takes several essentially prepared foods and combines them to make a new dish, is just the ticket after a couple of weeks of baking and making, along with the wrapping and delivering, decorating, and cleaning up of joyous messes. Suitable for New Year’s Eve gatherings — or a quick quasi-supper with perhaps a salad alongside, or saving until game day — Rotel Dip isn’t supposed to be wholesome or even good looking. In fact, one online source called it “Ugly Dip.”

It’s supposed to taste good and be scoopable with a tortilla chip.

A summertime neighbor, Muffet, showed me how to put it together. We made a double batch and poured it into a crock pot around which later eager eaters jostled one another. The dip is named after Rotel vegetables, the canned tomato and chilis mixture easy to find at the grocery store.

If you follow the assembly directions below, you will make about 3 cups, which is to say, not enough.

You can tweak this dip to make it more wholesome; for example, using ground turkey or chicken instead of sausage or hamburger, seasoning it up with chili powder and garlic. Or eschewing prepared cheese for grated cheddar. One version of the dish calls for cubed Velveeta. Or even chopping your own tomatoes and chiles.

In fact, you can turn it into an actual supper dish by adding a bunch of cooked macaroni for a jazzed-up version of mac and cheese.

Doing all that, though, means you are actually cooking again, and isn’t the point this week to knock off the effort?

Rotel Dip

Yields 3 ½ cups

1 pound of ground beef or prepared bulk sausage

1 10-ounce can of Rotel Vegetables

½ pound or 1 8-ounce package of prepared cheese, such as Velveeta and/or cream cheese

Tortilla chips or scoops

Brown the meat in a heavy saucepan.

Add the Rotel vegetables and stir them in, letting them simmer a little while, about five minutes.

Add the cream cheese and let it melt. Stir all together, and allow to thicken.

Serve warm with corn chips.

Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...