Friday, February 03, 2012

Easy Recipe for Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites

It was my sister Pam who introduced our family to these Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites.
(Introducing a new feature called Phase One Fridays!   So many people commented on how they've enjoyed seeing the favorite Phase One recipes I featured during January that I've decided to start spotlighting a favorite Phase One Recipe every Friday.  Other types of featured posts that used to appear on Friday will now be posted occasionally on Saturday.  This Friday I'm sharing a Phase One recipe from a year ago that's a huge favorite at the Denny Family Superbowl parties.  Enjoy!)

A few days ago I suggested Hummus and Cucumber Appetizer Bites for a diet-friendly Super Bowl party offering, and these Ham and Dill Pickle Bites are another option if you're looking for something that's a bit lighter for game-day fare.  My sister Pam first had these ham and dill pickle bites as a store sample, and she's been making them ever since for Denny family parties, where even the non dieters will chow down on them.  If you'd like to make these dairy-free and even lower in calories, you can skip the cream cheese.  When I made these lots of other ideas popped into my head, so check after the main recipe for more options  (If you have other good ideas for variations, please share in the comments!)

Start by cutting the dill pickles lengthwise into fourths or sixths, depending on how big the pickles are.  I had baby dills, so I bought smaller slices of ham so match the size of the pickles.

The only part of this recipe that's remotely labor-intensive is spreading the cream cheese on the ham, and if you let it sit out and get soft it's pretty easy.  Spread lightly or the extra will seep out when you cut the ham!  (If you're not dieting whipped cream cheese would be great, but I used light cream cheese which didn't come whipped.)

Put a dill pickle spear on each ham slice, preparing to roll them up.  (If the ham was a lot wider than the pickle spear, I'd trim it before I rolled it up.)

Roll the ham slice around the pickle spear.

Then put toothpicks in each roll, aligning them where you want to cut the ham.  (With bigger ham slices you can get up to 5 of these from a piece of ham, but with the smaller ham I only cut 3.)

Cut the rolls so each piece has a toothpick in it, arrange on a plate, and serve.

You can also make them without cream cheese if you have guests who can't do dairy or you want to reduce the calories even more.

Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites
(Recipe from my sister Pam, who first tasted these as a store sample.)

dill pickles
thin deli ham slices (use lean ham with the lowest fat content you can find for South Beach Diet)
light cream cheese (or use whipped cream cheese if you don't care about it being light)

Let the cream cheese sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you make these.

Cut dill pickles lengthwise into fourths or sixths, depending on how thick the pickles are.  You need as many cut pickle spears as you have ham slices.

Spread each slice of ham with a very thin layer of cream cheese.  (I used about 1 tsp. cream cheese on each ham slice. The ham doesn't need to be completely covered with cream cheese.) 

Put a dill pickle on the edge of each ham slice and trim the ham if it's very much bigger than the dill pickle spear.  Roll up the ham around the dill pickle, then place toothpicks where you want each piece to be cut.  Cut into pieces so that each piece has a toothpick.  Arrange on plate and serve.

Other Ideas That Might be Fun:
-You can make dairy-free Ham and Dill Pickle Bites by omitting the cream cheese.
-For a spicier appetizer, mix some Green Tabasco Sauce into the cream cheese.
-For a sweeter flavor combination, try some Sugar Free Apricot Preserves mixed into the cream cheese.
-Try a flavored cream cheese (like pineapple) for a different twist.
-If you like mustard, try a very thin swipe of mustard on top of the cream cheese.
-Serve the Ham and Dill Pickle bites with a mayo-mustard dipping sauce.

(Edit 2/4/11:  Check the comments for many more great ideas for these!  I love the way this recipe seems to have inspired creative cooks.)


South Beach Suggestions:
When made with lean ham and reduced-fat cream cheese, these little appetizer bites are great for any phase of the  South Beach Diet.

More Diet-Friendly Super Bowl Party Ideas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ten Low-Glycemic Menu Options for a South Beach Diet Friendly Superbowl Party from Kalyn's Kitchen 
Healthy Superbowl Recipe Round-Up  from This Mama Cooks On a Diet
Top 20 Skinny Superbowl Round-Up from SkinnyTaste
50+ Cheap and Healthy Party Foods from Cheap Healthy Good
Healthy Superbowl Recipes from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Dip Into Something Nutritious on Superbowl Sunday from Blogher.com
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit

86 comments:

  1. We do these wraps using the extra large stuffed olives, boiled ham, cream cheese mixed with minced onion, worchestershire sauce & hot sauce. Very yummy!

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  2. My family does these with green onions for every family function. We call them Polish Roses. Yum!

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    1. i was about to say the same thing! but i didnt know what they were called!

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  3. I'm so excited that people are sharing other ways to make these. I love both of these ideas.

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  4. Your idea of mixing pineapple into the cream cheese made me think of using pineapple chunks in the middle instead of dill pickle (with the cream cheese and ham wrapped around it). And if you get your pineapple pre-cored, it would be super easy. Yum!

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  5. Perfect for a lo-carb appetizer. I have smoked pepper turkey in my fridge, will try dill pickes with it for our superbowl snacks!

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  6. Alison, I think that would be fabulous with pineapple in the center!

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  7. Jane, we must have been writing comments at the same time! I think smoked turkey would be great for this as well.

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  8. These little gems look really good. So easy to make too! I'm going to try them using Bubbies dill pickles. They're my favorite store bought brand! Thanks Kalyn...

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  9. We call these "picklewiches" and use corned beef instead of ham. I usually leave the pickles whole - I'll have to try them quartered.

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  10. Corned beef would be great! Maybe with mustard too.

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  11. I don't know why, but we have always called these "Monkey Pods." Definitely a crowd pleaser. Another variation is with hard salami and a pepperoncini pepper. Mmmm.

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  12. Had these at a Christmas party made with pickled okra.Really good and looks pretty sliced with the design inside of the okra.

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  13. I am loving the variations. Both salami + peperoncini and the idea of okra instead of pickles sound great to me!

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  14. Pickled green beans, celery stalks, homemade pimento cheese instead of cream cheese are all tasty options. Mel

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  15. Mel I love those ideas, especially the pickled green beans!

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  16. Why not use the low fat flavored laughing cow wedges that you love?

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  17. [Smacking forehead here!] Now why didn't I think of using Laughing Cow for this; great idea!

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  18. Ah those bring back memories from the early 80's!

    Here are two other morsels I used to make these with-pickled onions and pineapple chunks. For both, instead of wrapping the "morsel" inside, spread the cream cheese on the ham, fold up, cut, spear the morsel on the toothpick followed by the ham (so the morsel sits on top of the ham). I have some upcoming opportunities to make these-thanks for the reminder!

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  19. Ah, Susie that sounds tasty and adds a different twist to it.

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  20. Hi Alison, this looks tasty! I agree with you that it would be lovely with pineapples. Could you recommend how much serving should each person eat?

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  21. Sheila, not sure who you're directing that question to, but if you're eating something like this for South Beach, it would be phase two with the pineapple or light pineapple cream cheese. South Beach doesn't limit serving sizes for most foods, but cream cheese and ham are both fairly calorie dense, and the pickles are high in salt, so I'd keep that in mind and eat a moderate amount. (Still better than fried chips or a lot of other things you could be eating at a Superbowl party!)

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  22. This sounds yummy--I love pickles. I make similar hors d'ouevres, but with scallions in place of the pickles.

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  23. Oh yes, I would love this with scallions. (I use them in everything!)

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  24. Great idea for a light appetizer! Will keep these in mind, maybe I'll make a small batch for me and hubby on Sunday...

    it's not easy to find a light appetizer that packs a lot of flavor, this seem to be it.

    Thanks, Kalyn... have a great weekend!

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  25. Kalyn, your blog makes me so hungry everytime I visit!! :) Have you tried these with Serrano ham? My dad used to make us nibbles similar to this before dinner sometimes, but with Serrano ham and cataloupe pieces in the middle. Lovely!

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  26. Tina, glad to hear it! I'm not sure I have even had serrano ham, but it sounds lovely with ham and canteloupe!

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  27. I love all the variations that people are coming up with. Since I have a gluten-free kid now, I think I will try some variation of these cute roll-ups this Sunday.

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  28. Jeanette, isn't it fun to see all the creativity around this simple idea? And perfect for gluten free!

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  29. Sorry, I know this is not politically correct, but where I come from, we call this white trash sushi.

    And, yes, I love it!

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  30. I make these except I mix dill relish with whipped cream cheese and just keep it in a container in my refrigerator. It is easy to just make up one or two for a snack or a few more for lunch. Yum!

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  31. Delightul, eay yet tasty appetizers!!


    MMMMMM,..;Kalyn!

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  32. I guess I am not very PC because I love the name White Trash Sushi for this! How fun, I will have to share with my sister Pam.

    And love the variation of using dill pickle relish mixed into the cream cheese too. So many good ideas.

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  33. I love these! I've usually made them as dried beef rolls (using dry beef instead of ham) which are pretty salty. Ham would be super yum. I've put pickles and green onions in the center and both work well. I also love to spice up the cream cheese, especially with lots of garlic and worscheshire.

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  34. HA! White trash sushi! I'm rolling! These are great ideas and once again Kalyn you've got everyone thinking healthy! Thanks so much for a great blog!

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  35. They're adorable!!! And it's such a great idea! :)

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  36. Nice game day snack! I can never get enough pickles.

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  37. YUM! I think I will make this using Boursin or Rondele light garlic-herb cheese. I have some at home right now!

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  38. Thanks for all the nice comments about this. Looks like I got distracted from replying to the last few comments, but I do read them all.

    Erica, love the idea of using that type of cheese for this.

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  39. I mix powdered ranch dressing into the cream cheese before spreading onto the dried beef or ham...really yummy! We're inclucing all kinds of variations of this on our fruit/vegie/chip and dip bar for my daughters high school graduation reception. Love all of these great ideas...thanks!

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  40. Oh I love the idea of adding a bit of Ranch Dressing flavor to the cream cheese!

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  41. love your site..just have a question about all the recipes with cream cheese-the South Beach site says cream cheese substitute, dairy-free....WHAT is that?? and do you stick to that part??

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  42. Thanks Misti. That type of "imitation cream cheese" is sold near the real cream cheese in most store, it's called something like Neufschatel (sic?) The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs guide (tiny little book) lists fat free and low fat cream cheese both as "Good" so I am going by that. I don't eat a lot of it, so I'm not worried.

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  43. Don't pickles have added sugar usually? This would make them a "no" for the phase one. Vera

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  44. Vera you need to be sure to use Dill pickles (not sweet pickles.) Check the label for the amount of carbs (or sugars, but the one I have doesn't even have sugars listed on the label.) My pickles have sugar listed (way down the list as an ingredient in the brine,) but the amount of carbs in the pickles is 0 gr.

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  45. I've done something similar with turkey, cream cheee, and green chiles. Yuuuummmmmyyyy!

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  46. Luci, that sounds good to me!

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  47. My mom has been making these for years and they are AWESOME!! We've also done them with green onions - they are a great party snack!

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  48. Deborah, we love them in my family too.

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  49. Try with peanut butter...YUM!

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  50. I can eat peanut butter on anything, so I'm sure I'd like it!

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  51. We make them with corned beef or salami with multiple slices overlapped, spread with cream cheese, roll whole Claussens and sliced like thick coins.
    Kind of off topic but we also put a slice of salami on top of our bagels with cream cheese. I always need a pickle on the side b/c then I get all the flavors of the pickle rolls, as we call them :)

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  52. I have made them using asparagus, not a dill pickle. They go over as a huge success.

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  53. Kalyn, there is a Somersize group on Facebook that I belong to. A member had asked for meal suggestions that could be eaten while she's driving. I suggested these (and all these combinations!). I added a link back to your site and wanted to let you know.

    Teri

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  54. Teri, that's great, and thanks for letting me know.

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  55. These went on every party menu by my mom when I was growing up. Love them!!

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  56. I love your Phase 1 recipes! I am going to start making them in March when I add beans back into my meal plan :)

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  57. I'm definitely making these tomorrow! But I'm a vegetarian so I'll try both Tofurky peppered deli slices and Smart Deli bologna! I was also thinking Laughing Cow garlic & herb could be delicious low call option. I spread laughing cow on my tofurky slices as little "sandwiches" every day at work haha.

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  58. So glad people are still liking this recipe. I love hearing the different names and how to adapt them.

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  59. Horseradish mixed into the cream cheese. I've also used the creamed horseradish by itself but as I don't have any here right now I'm not sure of the sugar content. Plain, ground horseradish with the cream cheese would be the SB way to go for sure. It has a nice bite!

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    1. Oh my!! Adding a bit of horseradish would just take it over the top for me. (I love horseradish!) Thanks for sharing that great idea.

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  60. im starting the atkins diet whic is very similar to south beach diet and i love your site. lots of good ideas. i have one favor though, it would be very helpful if you could include the net carbs and calories and such. just a suggestion. thank you for what you do :)

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    1. Crystal, I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight because I didn't want to have to calculate carbs, calories, points, or fat grams, and I already spend 4-5 hours on every recipes, so I'm probably never going to start including that information. However you can easily calculate it yourself by entering the recipe and number of servings into this site.

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  61. Started making something similar when i lived in Texas where salsa goes with/in everything. Mix up either red or green salsa with some softened cream cheese, and then spread the mixture on slices of ham, beef, turkey, whatever. I'm not "hardcore" when it comes to "heat", but you can drop some pieces of jalapeno or habanero into the mix or put them down the center where the pickle would go if you want. If cream cheese is used, most of the time you don't need toothpicks to hold the spirals together after they're cut.

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  62. My mom made these when we were little. We used sweet pickles - yum!

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  63. I love those things! We often wrap tender-crisp asparagus (sometimes with a few thin strips of fresh basil) like this too.

    Love the pickled okra and pepperocini suggestions too.
    Party time!

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  64. What a fun idea for an appetizer! These would be great at any party :)

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  65. I made these on Super Bowl Sunday, and they were a hit! It's hard to believe something so simple can taste so good, but it really does! One thing I might recommend is that you drain your pickle spears on a couple of paper towels for a few minutes before rolling them in the ham. I also patted dry both the ham and the pickle with a paper towel before putting them together. The cream cheese sticks better that way. I will definitely make these again.

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  66. I've made these many times over the years, but thanks to all of you I'm going to try some of the other/new to ne ideas. Thanks all!

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  67. I know this is an old one, but as I was scanning through the site looking for healthy inspiration for a winter season that is, thus far, too warm for soups and stews, I came across this and smiled. My family has been making these for years and years... turns out they were lo-carb and didn't know it!

    We use whole pickles and slice them into thin rounds... with a bit of garlic salt to season the cream cheese. Totally going to be making these this holiday season!

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  68. CJ, you know how great minds think alike and all that! We have loved them for years too.

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  69. I featured this recipe on my blog today! Thanks so much for sharing! We're going to be making these for our Christmas party next week.

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  70. in 1983, my sister informed my dad that she had to take some "edible item" to school the next day. This was around 10 pm at night. My dad, being the chef of the family came up with these. We called them ham doo doos. the were not only a big hit then, but i have taken them around the world in the military for multiple functions. there are always the first thing to go from the buffet line. got a great laugh when i saw this on pintrest.... told my dad he was finally famous!

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  71. We make these every year with horseradish and green onion.....yummy!

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  72. Hi Kalyn! I was wondering what kind of ham you use? It looks a lot better than deli ham. Thanks!

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  73. Wish I could remember, but I don't have any right now and don't remember the brand. It comes in a blue&white package sold near the cheese. If I can remember I will come back and list the brand next time I buy it.

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  74. When watching sodium, I like to make these with regular cucumbers (sliced into spears), and add a little fresh or dried dill in with the cream cheese. This way they make not only a light appetizer but can be a fulfilling lunch as well!

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  75. Kalyn - did you ever find out the name of that ham? Just curious.

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  76. Sorry, but I haven't bought ham since then; still busy moving and have hardly been to the store.

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  77. My brother loves a similar snack, which he calls hamcandy, which is small pickles (they are small enough that they don't have to be cut) wrapped in ham (he insists upon using a certain type and brand of ham and pickles, as he claims that those make the best hamcandy) and without the cream cheese, although he has put shredded cheese in his hamcandy before

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  78. I have a coworker who makes these with pickled asparagus and roast beef. So good!

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  79. All the variations sound yummy.. I havent tried yet but how about some shredded cabbage with a bit of onions, sprouted mung beans or any sprouted beans for a kind of a spring-roll kind of variation without using flour?
    Suman..

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  80. Thanks Kalyn.. Hope you try it..

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