Good Morning America Muffins

Now it’s true that I made these muffins this morning for a segment that will appear tomorrow on Good Morning America tomorrow, (ABC 8 am EST) but you know it’s a great name for this ham and cheddar cheese filled beauties, even if they weren’t made for the show. They are a perfect breakfast muffin for kids to eat in a hurry before school because they are sort of sweet, (not too) but also pack a good helping of protein and fiber, which helps sustain focus, concentration and memory for the long morning until lunch. The muffins were a kid-friendly recipe I chose to teach to GMA host, Lara Spencer and her two gorgeous kids (of course…have you seen her?) in their lovely Connecticut home as part of a series on “Sneaky Learning” in which you take everyday activities and fight summer brain drain by introducing “teaching moments” into the mix.

Speaking of mixing, I chose a nice Honey Ham and a mild cheddar to introduce to this basic corn muffin recipe to make it even more kid-friendly. I had so much fun slipping in little educational moments for the kids, like doubling the recipe to get them to “do the math” and asking them to read the recipe out loud (hey, reading is reading!). We talked about what makes a cake puff up (baking powder and soda) and why it’s just like us blowing up a balloon, (carbon dioxide) and how when oil and water don’t mix it’s kind of like having a friend that’s really shy and you have to just work a little harder to get them to join in (whisk, whisk!). They got to learn that the main difference between brown eggs and white eggs these days is the color and not much else, that cheese comes from milk (fermentation), and you have to wash your hands after you get raw eggs on them (bacteria).

We got our hands into everything to learn about textures and finding good vocabulary words to describe the “silky” and “smooth” and “fine” feel of unbleached flour, compared to the “sandy” or “coarse” or “granular” way the cornmeal and sugar felt.

The kids tasted the cheese and the ham and learned how to hold it in their mouths and puff up there cheeks to really get a good taste, just like cooking show judges, and then declared if they thought each were “sweet, sour, salty or bitter.” We learned there is a way of mixing called “folding” that has you turning over batter like the pages of a book so you won’t overwork it and let all the bubbles from the baking powder disappear before you can get it all in the oven.

And after the muffin pan was filled (not all the way, to give it room to balloon!) we waited.

Not too long. And then tasted the hot and savory fruits of our labor! I just love cooking magic!

Hope you get to this in time to watch or TiVo the show…if not, I’ll be posting a link on the blog to view as soon as I can. The recipe and an article about my experience with the kids will be featured on too. I’m very excited! It’s been a rough few weeks over here and getting called to do the show was a really nice little message from the universe that I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing and that it’s OK to get back to work!

Make a bunch of these and freeze them for quick pop-in-the-toaster-or-microwave, hearty and healthy breakfast for the kids…or for yourself as you run out the door for work. Let me know how you like them!

Ham and Cheese Good Morning America Muffins
Makes 1 dozen


  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1 cup ham, ¼ inch dice
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • OPTIONAL ADD-INS: ¼ cup finely chopped chives or scallions OR 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn kernels


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray, oil, butter or line the wells with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, which are: flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, which are: eggs, milk, and oil.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients in the larger bowl. One they are completely mixed together to form a smooth batter, fold in the diced ham and the cheese.
  5. Spoon or pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each one only three quarters of the way to the top. Place the muffin pan in the warmed up oven and bake them for 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
  6. Remove muffins from oven and let them cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 3-5 minutes, then turn over the pan and pop the muffins out gently and let them cool on the rack completely.
  7. These are great served warm, with a little butter or jam, or plain. The muffins can be frozen in a sealed freezer bag for up to three months and reheated in the microwave (about 30 seconds) in the toaster oven or sliced in half and toasted in a buttered skillet.


8 responses to “Good Morning America Muffins”

  1. Brenda Varner Judin says:

    I guess you deserve a break today would be the jingle for the day (although not the choice of food.) So proud of you – combining all that acting training with your culinary skills. Please be the new Rachel Ray! I’ll be your entourage?!

  2. Marc Blackwell says:

    Bravo Chef Rachel!! Fantastic, saw the segment! You were great!!! Can’t wait to make these!!!!!!

    I have an idea for you so we must chat soon!!!

  3. m. says:

    Was disappointed to see you on GMA, saying brown eggs come from larger chickens who eat more food. The breed of chicken determines an eggs color and brown eggs are more expensive in the grocery store due to the misconception that they must be farm fresh. Not all brown laying chicken breeds are larger birds either. Please don’t pass on misinformation or unclear information such as this.

    • says:

      thistle creek: Thanks for writing…I appreciate all input…and corrections if I’ve made an error! Here’s some info I based some of my teaching on the egg thing on…and I just have to also say that I said more about the subject when I was live with the kids…but these segments take 2 hours of shooting and condense it down to 2 minutes so I hope those that got really “egg-cited” 😉 about my comment will be forgiving…here’s some info that shows the egg color question is not black and white!According to the Egg Nutrition Board (and who should know better?), “White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition between white and brown eggs.” The people at Crisco (who may know even more than the egg nutritionists) go further to say, “They simply come from two different breeds of chickens. Brown eggs, however, are more expensive because the chickens that lay them eat more than those that lay white eggs.” Among the breeds that lay brown eggs are the Rhode Island Red, the New Hampshire and the Plymouth Rock–all larger birds that require more food.But Bill Finch of the Mobile Register suggests that brown eggs may have tasted better at one time. He says, “For years, the chickens preferred by commercial growers happened to lay white eggs. A few smart cooks sought out brown eggs because most of the home-reared American flocks, which had access to flavor-enhancing weeds and bugs, happened to lay brown eggs. Commercial egg producers eventually got wise to this. They started raising chickens that laid brown eggs, and charged a premium for them at the store.”But because the white AND brown grocery-store eggs are the result of the same bland commercial diet, their eggs taste exactly the same. Many people still apparently don’t realize they’ve been duped at their own game.”

  4. Have you ever tried modifying this recipe to include far healthier whole wheat flour rather than white? As a heart patient, I’m always looking to adapt yummy recipes to make them more ‘heart-smart’.

    Love these photos, by the way!

    • says:

      Carolyn. Thanks for asking and I really have two answers for this question. The first is YES…almost any recipe with unbleached all-purpose flour, can be turned into a more “whole grain” recipe or even a “gluten-free” recipe by substituting the type of flour used. If you can find whole wheat pastry flour (which is just a finer ground version of whole wheat flour) you’ll get a lighter, less dense result, or you can substitute some of the all-purpose flour for whole grain instead. With gluten-free substitutions the results can vary widely, so you may need to experiment with different flours to see how they perform.

      The second answer to this question is that a truly heart healthy diet, recommended by leaders in the field like Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Chauncey Crandal, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, is a virtually grain-free diet. The simple carbs that grains provide spike insulin and cause inflammation in the body, as well as convert to fat that contributes to heart risk factors. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than this, and I recommend looking into this “cave man” way of eating that can significantly stope and in many cases reduce inflammation, arterial plaque, lower cholestrol and balance fat to lean muscle ratio. My husband, Dr. Doug Willen, also writes about this way of eating in his blog and you can find him at . So…it’s true that if you are going to eat grains, baked goods, etc. that whole grains would be a better choice because of their higher fiber content…which makes them lower on the glycemic index… but a truly heart healthy diet would entail eliminating all but a small percentage of your diet to grains overall. Hope that gives you some “food for thought!”

  5. Barb and Chris Rice says:

    Good morning ! finally was able to check out your site. I want to plan a Passover dinner next year. someone used to do it at our church and we went when the girls were little. They behaved very well. I will be in NYC on May 5th with a local, one day, bus trip. Not sure what Theresa has planned Chris planted potatoes and other seeds in the garden yesterday, I pulled. weeds! Will do something with Rhubarb today. Hope all are well! Cook On!

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