Just the Essentials with Erin McMurrer

Test kitchen director talks cooking for family, favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Published Apr. 27, 2017.

In celebration of 100 Recipes—a book which lists, in our estimation, the 100 most essential recipes in the history of the Test Kitchen—our beloved television personalities have each compiled a list of their five favorite recipes from the book. Below, cast member Erin McMurrer lists hers, including a recipe that manages to transform poached chicken from something bland to something something transcendent.

1. Poached Chicken

I prepare this recipe along with the simple and bold flavored sauces for my family on a regular basis because it’s so easy to make and is great served at any temperature. This recipe is all about technique and cooking a lean protein gently while enhancing its flavor with pantry ingredients. After a couple of simple steps, you’re left with a perfectly cooked chicken breast that can be used in a variety of ways.

2. Tortilla Soup

I make this recipe regularly and love it because it’s a snap to make, it’s packed with great flavors and textures, and it’s a fun dish to serve to a crowd.

3. Ultimate Banana Bread

This recipe is in my top 10 because it yields the best-tasting banana bread that I’ve ever had. It actually tastes like bananas, is moist and tender throughout, has a sugary crust, and is topped with two rows of soft roasted banana slices. It makes for a beautiful and interesting presentation and is sure to please.

4. Indonesian-Style Fried Rice

This is a unique version of fried rice that has a great balance of spicy, sweet, and salty flavors, and the contrasting textures of the ingredients make it a fun and satisfying dish to prepare and enjoy.

5. Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, and despite the extra steps it requires, the end result is a cookie that is perfect in every way. The cookie base has a nutty, toffee, butterscotch flavor with big pops of bittersweet chocolate chips, and the texture is a great combo of crisp edges and chewy center—it doesn’t get any better.

The Test Kitchen's True Essentials

100 Recipes

If you could only have 100 recipes at your disposal, what would they be? In 100 Recipes, the editors of America’s Test Kitchen present what they consider the recipes everyone should know how to make—these are the dishes that will give anyone the culinary chops they need to succeed in the kitchen.  
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What's your all-time favorite America's Test Kitchen recipe? Let us know in the comments! And for more cast musings on 100 Recipes, read these posts: 

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