Tortilla pinwheels made with cream cheese provide a quick snack or a simple appetizer. You can further simplify the process by making and freezing them ahead of time. The cream cheese filling freezes well if you choose the other ingredients carefully to ensure the best storage ability.
Although the main ingredients in tortilla pinwheels freeze well, take care when selecting additional ingredients to ensure they also can survive freezer storage. Ham and deli meats, most raw diced vegetables and other cheeses are all suitable additions if you plan to freeze your pinwheels. Lettuce, fresh herbs and other leafy greens, however, will wilt, darken or become limp if you attempt to freeze them. Instead of placing these items inside the pinwheels, use them to garnish the pinwheels instead when you are ready to thaw and serve.
Softened cream cheese spreads better and mixes more easily with other ingredients. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature in a bowl, and then mix in shredded hard cheeses, deli meats or diced onions, peppers or other vegetables. You can season the cream cheese with dried herbs and spices if desired. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the tortilla before rolling the tortilla up into a tight log. Alternatively, layer thin-sliced deli meats on top the cream cheese filling before rolling. Cut the log into ¾-inch-wide pinwheel slices.
The Big Freeze
Freezing the pinwheels on a tray makes it simpler to only pull out what you need from the freezer because this way, the pinwheels won't stick together. Line a tray with wax paper or parchment and lay the pinwheel rounds on the paper so they aren't touching each other. Freeze the pinwheels in a 0-degree Fahrenheit freezer for one to two hours, or until they are frozen completely. Transfer the pinwheels to a freezer-safe storage bag. Press out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. You can store cream cheese pinwheels for up to two months.
Defrost and Serve
Tortilla pinwheels taste best when served cold. Defrost the pinwheels overnight in the refrigerator. You can arrange them on the serving tray before defrosting to speed preparation the following day, but cover the pinwheels so they don't dry out in the refrigerator. Garnish the defrosted pinwheels by placing them on a bed of leafy greens, or topping them with slivered carrots, red peppers, pimentos, olives or a sprig of parsley.