Mrs. Potter's Chicken

This insanely easy recipe has been passed among family, neighbors, and friends for decades. That's how good it is. Here's the story behind the recipe.™
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Before I invite people over for dinner, I spend some time flipping through cookbooks, pretending that I'll try something new. But I'm kidding myself, because I pretty much always circle back to a dish called Mrs. Potter's Chicken. The recipe came into my family in August 1997, when my nephew Will was born. After my brother Peter and his wife, Catherine, brought Will home from the hospital, their neighbor Ann Potter -- called Mrs. Potter by their two older kids -- dropped off a dish of crunchy, Parmesan-coated chicken breasts. It was total comfort food and such a hit that Catherine added the recipe to her regular family dinner rotation. When her kids asked what was for supper, she'd say "Mrs. Potter's Chicken," and the name stuck.

The recipe is so good that Catherine shared it with our extended family. I've never met Ann Potter, but I recently tracked her down to thank her for the dish that I've served at so many dinner parties over the years. Ann told me she got this recipe from her mom, who'd named it Marie Murphy's Chicken for the friend who passed it on to her.

The beauty of Mrs. Potter's Chicken is that it's shockingly easy, and it makes even the pickiest eater happy. When I serve this chicken to guests, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it has just five ingredients and takes about five minutes to prepare. They ask what it's called, and then they say, "Who's Mrs. Potter?" And I get to tell this little story all over again.

Mrs. Potter's Chicken

Work: 5 to 10 minutes

Total: 22 minutes


1 1/2 cups crackers such as Ritz, crushed

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 (1 1/2 pounds total) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Combine crushed crackers, Parmesan, and pepper in a shallow dish; set aside. (Note: You can experiment with the ratio of Parmesan to cracker crumbs; I like the crust extra crispy, but some people in my family prefer to add a bit more cheese to the mix.)
  3. Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally, so you have 8 pieces total. Pound each chicken piece between two sheets of plastic wrap until very thin, about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Coat chicken in butter, then dredge in cracker mixture, pressing crumbs firmly onto each piece. Lay chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle any excess coating over top. Bake 12 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Serves 6

Per Serving: 260 cal, 13g fat (5.5g sat), 396mg sodium, 13g carb, 66mg chol, 21g protein, 0 fiber

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, September 2012.


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