I used to make these lovely little appetizers/snacks quite frequently, way back when the hubby and I used to entertain on a regular basis. I would spend weeks preparing menus of perfectly matched appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts.
But man, I've lost my touch. Our food theme this year was obviously something along the lines of "Things that taste good and hopefully provide some leftovers for the week." We had some Mexican. Some Cajun. And these adorable (and low-fat!) little Italian nibbles.
This is an adaptation of a Betty Crocker recipe, and aside from the taste (and the low-fat-ness!), the best thing about these is that you can easily make them ahead of time. In fact, these little guys need to sit in the fridge for at least a few hours before you slice 'em.
You can use any kind of deli meat with these, and I've tried several varieties, but the ham is still my favorite. Black Forest, if you've got it.
Italian Ham Bites
Makes 25 appetizers
5 slices deli ham
3 Tbsp. flavored, reduced-fat spreadable cheese
Fresh basil leaves
5 strips roasted red pepper, patted dry
5 pieces string cheese
1. Place ham on a work surface and pat dry.
Patting the ingredients dry is a common theme here. If your ham has too much moisture, the spreadable cheese won't stick. And if the ham and peppers have too much moisture, everything will be kind of soggy and slimy. We here at Angel in the Kitchen are not fans of soggy and slimy food.
2. If necessary, trim ham to be the same width as the string cheese, and about 4 or so inches high.
You don't want the bites from the ends of the rolls to have no string cheese, and you also don't want everything to be too hammy. We here at Angel in the Kitchen are not fans of too hammy.
3. Spread ham with 1 1/2 to 2 tsp. spreadable cheese.
I sometimes use flavored cream cheese, like garden herb. This time I used a few wedges of Laughing Cow garlic and herb cheese.
We here at Angel in the Kitchen are fans of Laughing Cow. And laughing cows. Okay, I'll stop.
4. Add a few basil leaves, or one ginormous basil leaf. Place a row of pepper strips across the bottom edge of the ham, and place a piece of string cheese above the peppers. Like so.
I obviously made more than 5 rolls. Just making sure you're paying attention.
7. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
8. Unwrap rolls and place seam side down. Cut each roll into 5 pieces. Pierce with toothpicks if you want to be all fancy-pants. (These were for me, and I don't need no stinkin' toothpicks.)