Monday, December 30, 2013

Black Forest Ham Pinwheels

Jan here, astounded that it's time to turn that calendar page to 2014. Already! Does anyone else feel like 1994 was just last year?

So, how do you celebrate the new year?

Once in awhile we'll have someone over, but more often you'll find the six of us ringing out the old year quietly...if you count playing a game of Mexican Train Dominoes quiet!

We have a tradition of setting out snacky foods and grazing all night.

Well, at least until 10:00 or so. When we lived in the eastern time zone, we'd stay up and watch the ball drop in Times Square, but it loses a little of its punch when you're watching it two hours after the fact!

I like to try a new snack food sometimes to help mix things up, and this year I found a winner. I'm sure you're all familiar with these pinwheels. I've seen them in the deli cases at supermarkets, and they're always a hit whenever someone brings them to my son's office potluck.

In fact, it was after this year's potluck that my son asked me to try making them. So I searched online for a recipe, found a few, changed things up a bit, and came up with a treat I couldn't resist!

Here's the recipe:

Black Forest Ham Pinwheels


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon horseradish (not horseradish sauce - get the real stuff)

8 ounces deli-style Black Forest Ham, sliced thin
I know this says "1 lb family size" - I made two batches and used it all.
4-5 flour tortillas, about 10" in size, room temperature (you can also use the low-carb tortillas)

This is so easy. First, mix the cream cheese, onion, dill weed and horseradish in a small bowl. Taste a smidgen, and add salt and pepper if you want. Remember that the ham is also salty, so you want your cream cheese mixture to be on the un-salty side.

The next thing to do is to lay a piece of plastic wrap down and lay a tortilla on top of it (you'll thank me later).

Spread some of the cream cheese mixture on one tortilla, thick enough to cover it, but not too thick. Lay slices of the ham in a single layer all over the tortilla. Then roll the tortilla up from one edge (not the plastic wrap - yet). Roll it  fairly tight, but you don't have to be a bully about it.

Now wrap the plastic wrap around it and set it aside. (This is where you'll thank me! Just try tearing off a piece of plastic wrap while you're trying to keep your tortilla from unrolling.)

Repeat until the cream cheese is all gone.

Refrigerate the rolls for at least two hours. When you're ready to eat them, unwrap them, and cut in 1/2-inch sections. (Let your minions snack on the ends).

Like most recipes, you can change this up to suit your own family. Here are some ideas for variations:

*Add dried cranberries to the cream cheese (leave out the horseradish for this one!)
*Use turkey instead of ham, or roast beef, or pastrami.
*Use nuts and dried fruit, and leave out the meat altogether.
*Add fresh chopped mushrooms.
*Add a layer of Swiss cheese on top of the meat.

The variations are only limited by your imagination!

We're planning to start our New Year's Eve celebration tomorrow night after daughter Carrie gets home from playing in the symphony concert. This year's concert sounds like fun - it's a Beach Boys tribute with a band called "The Kahuna Beach Party". (She's been humming Beach Boys tunes all month.)

We'll get the dominoes, set the snacks out, and spend the rest of the evening trying not to get too many points!

What are your New Year's Eve plans? Are you festive, or quiet? How do you like to ring out the old year?

And, of course, we must end with some gratuitous puppy pictures! This was Thatcher's first Christmas, and he did okay with the presents under the long as they didn't contain food of any kind!

Wynter always takes things a little easy. "Presents, you say? I'll go someplace where I can sleep!"

(By the way, don't forget to head over to Seekerville tomorrow for the big New Year's bash! Readers and writers alike will have tons of fun...and there will be prizes!)


  1. I've never been a great New Year reveler. I think I've been to maybe two New Year's Eve parties in my whole life! I'm a stay at home all cozy and warm in my jammies kind of person. And lights out by ten. Yawn, boring I know.

    Love the gratuitous puppy pics. Glad Thatcher behaved on his first Christmas. And look at how grown up he is!!!! Honestly, does anything ruffle Wynter? She's one cool dudette!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Wynter has her triggers!

      1) The UPS man (or any strange man who dares to walk toward her house!)
      2) Squirrels
      3) Puppies who try to chew on her chewies

      Other than those three things, she's pretty laid back. Her favorite thing to do is hiking in the Hills. :)

      Have a Happy New Year, Kav!

  2. I love these! I just got a recipe for them after a Christmas party. Her recipe had chopped olives in it. Yum!

    I'm a quiet evening at home person as well. I do like to stay up and watch the ball drop, and sometimes watch the peach drop in Atlanta, switching the channels back and forth. :)

    1. The chopped olives would give these the same zing the horseradish does! Seriously, between the cream cheese and tortillas, they can taste pretty bland without something to rev them up. :)

      It sounds like our group is leaning toward the "quietly at home" kind of New Year's Eve. Do you think it's our literary bent that leads us that way?

    2. Oh, I'd love the chopped olives in them! And maybe banana peppers in others??????

      This is such a fun thing and while I've made wraps, I've never thought of this way to do it! Thank you, Jan!!!

    3. I should have posted a warning, Ruthy - these things are addicting!

      And I tell myself that I can eat the low-carb tortilla ones with NO GUILT!

  3. I always eat these but I never have made them. Thanks for the recipe.

    See you tomorrow in Seekerville for our 27 hour NYE celebration.

    1. Tina, these are so easy to make! You'll wow people at your next party.

      And yes, see you tomorrow! All day and night long!

  4. Yep, I'm usually at home as well. Sometimes we go to watch night services, but we tend to do New Year's Eve quietly at home. Thanks for the these great grazing recipes!

    1. New Year's Eve is just made for grazing, isn't it? And playing games, or reading, or watching an old movie....

  5. We have a lovely Mass in the morning (January 1) but New Year's Eve Dave will work and I'll go to bed early to get up and write in the wee smalls... and that's my present to myself, the whole day is writing time/edits time for me.

    SO EXCITED!!!!!!

    We've had such fun with family/friends/kids, but this day I'm claiming as mine. No company, no frivolity, just a beautiful Mass and writing or editing. And I'm okay if we eat tuna to welcome the New Year or if Dave orders pizza, doesn't matter.... because I get a day to write!!!

    Hallelujah chorus singing!!!!

    1. We're ALL excited when you get a writing day!

      Our routine is getting back to normal on Thursday. Everyone back to work, and it's just me, the dogs, and a proposal I want to get in to my agent by the end of the week.

    2. I'm ready for normal, too. Love normal!!!

    3. Normal is vastly underrated.

      Like naps. Have you ever heard an adult say they don't like to take naps?

  6. Yum! I'm working New Year's Eve but when I'm not I'm pretty quiet/boring! Big surprise there huh?! ;-)

    1. I can imagine you being quiet...I'm not so sure about boring! ;-)

      Have a great New Year's, even if you are working!

  7. Another pretty quiet one here. Like Kav, I could probably count the number of times I've gone out and 2 would be the high end of the range.

    My parents used to have a party when we were small, but I remember the most fun being in preparing the food ahead of time.

    This year, like last, I'll be ushering in the new year with my friends at Seekerville!

    Your recipe sounds yummy, Jan. I've become such a fan of horseradish. My grandmother used to eat it on everything and apparently I'm becoming like her.

    1. I love horseradish! It seems like every time I'm thinking "this dish needs some ooomph", horseradish is the answer.

      Maybe it's a sign of growing older? Nah! Couldn't be!

    2. I didn't know horseradish came as a powder...guessing the spice aisle maybe?! that aisle is really dangerous but seems everything I can never find is stuck there!