Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner
In choosing today's song I enlisted the help of one of my daughters. I said, "My ham and cheese rolls - name a song!" She instantly sputtered back by singing Ike Turners part in Proud Mary in her best low voice, "Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river." I replied, "Proud Mary? The Ike and Tina version? Not the Creedence Clearwater Revival version?" She explained how it HAS to be Ike and Tina's version because you start out rolling the dough and working "nice and easy." But when you take them out of the oven and they are "fantasmic!" (her word, which I'm pretty certain was a huge compliment) - that's the part of the song where they kick it up and end things "rough." So, clear out the kitchen because we are going to be "rollin' on the river" today!
I can't even remember where I got the ideas for these Ham and Cheese Rolls but I'm pretty sure it's been within the last ten years! But what a great addition it has been to my kitchen repertoire. They can be as easy or as involved as you want to make them. I tend to choose the more involved route because I don't usually have prepared bread doughs on hand - or if I do, they're in the freezer and I haven't remembered to take them out to thaw. Alas, it's easier for me to just whip up a batch of roll dough.
These always show up after we have a ham dinner. It's the absolute best way to use up that leftover ham. But I will confess, right here and now, in plain public, that sometimes I stage a ham dinner just so we can have these later! They are just THAT yummy!
You know what the best part of these guys are? They don't belong to just one meal group - they belong to them ALL! They are fitting for breakfast and can easily be taken on the fly for on the way to work or school.
My kids LOVED taking these for their school lunches - and I LOVED sending them because they are like a sandwich, but I didn't have to drag out all the components first thing in the morning and get to work. I just popped one in a baggie, added an apple, some carrot sticks, and a cookie to the brown bag, and it was all good!
They are great for dinner and can take any soup and elevate it to fine dining status. They are also a delicious companion to chili - think Super Bowl Sunday here. Or if it's a breakfast dinner, just think of how wonderful these would be alongside an omelet or even just scrambled eggs.
And I can personally attest to their value as a member of the afternoon snack category. These rolls give a "pick-me-up" a la "the lift" Patrick Swayze gives "Baby" in Dirty Dancing. Yeah, I hear those mixing bowls being hauled out of the cupboards!
As I said, you can use a prepared bread dough like Rhode's Bread, let it thaw and then roll it out. Or they would be good with the Pillsbury Pizza Dough as well. I'm going to include my roll dough recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but feel free to use one of your own if you want! Do whatever you have to to get yourself involved with folds of ham and cheese in soft, chewy dough!
Ham and Cheese Rolls
Printable Recipe Card
Printable Recipe Card
1 recipe of roll dough (see below)
2 cups of cubed ham
2 cups of shredded cheese, any will work or a combination of several
1/4 c. mayo
2 T. dijon mustard
On a floured surface, roll dough out into a rectangle about 12x15. Mix together the mayo and mustard and then spread edge to edge all over the top of the dough. Scatter the ham evenly across the surface, followed by the shredded cheese. It'll look something like this:
Now, "nice and easy," start with that long edge directly in front of you and start to roll up, keeping it as nicely tucked and tight as you can. You will end up with a long log.
Using a long, serrated knife, cut the log in half, then divide those halves in half. You will have 4 smaller logs now. Then simply cut each of those into three even rolls. There will be 12.
Aren't' they pretty?!
Now place each roll in a sprayed muffin tin, cut side down, like this:
Cover and let rise for about 30 - 45 minutes until they look like this:
(This is where you pause the song at 1:30 - cause as soon as these come out of the oven, things are going to get crazy with trumpets and saxophones and dancing!)
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. When I pull mine out of the oven I like to do a quick dance across their tops with about a teaspoon of butter, total - I find it keeps their tops nice and moist - and looking pretty! Cue Tina - "Doot, doot, doot, doot!"
Basic Roll Dough
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/2 t.)
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 1/4 c. milk
In a mixer bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Heat the milk with the butter until just warm and the butter starts to melt. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well. Add the egg and incorporate.
Add the remaining flour and mix for three minutes at high speed. This is a soft and fairly loose dough. Grease a large bowl and turn dough into it. Cover and let raise in a warm place until double - about an hour.