, Gloucester, MA


June 12, 2013

Chefs' challenge: $10 dinner for 4 in half hour

One of the challenges that a family faces is cooking creative, delicious and inexpensive meals using the same “boring” ingredients. That is precisely the topic that food blogger Heather Atwood tackles in her three-part Dinner Challenge cook-off videos.

Atwood invited Laurie Lufkin of Essex and Jim Bailey, the Yankee Chef, to her home for a friendly dinner battle.

“The premise of the competition is everyone has a tough time coming up with an inexpensive and quick weekday meal,” Atwood says before explaining the rules. The final dish must contain enough food for a family of four, cost $10 or less, and take 30 or fewer minutes to prepare.

Lufkin, star of Cape Ann TV’s “Inspired Cooking,” a fierce competitor and winner of multiple recipe contests, starts the challenge. She focuses on chicken, more precisely chicken leg quarters, which cost 89 cents per pound. Cutting the chicken yourself can be a challenge, however Lufkin shows you how to overcome the fear in the accompanying video.

After quartering the chicken, she proceeds to fry them in vegetable oil then places them in the oven to crisp. This chicken is a great accompaniment to any meal.

In the next part of the competition, Lufkin completes her side dishes, and in the closing episode The Yankee Chef prepares something very creative to try to win the challenge.

Baked Chicken


5 to 10 tablespoons olive oil

4 chicken leg quarters

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper


1. Cut the chicken legs and separate from the joints.

2. Coat the bottom of a large pan (with lid) with olive oil, and bring to a medium heat.

3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

4. Fry the chicken in the oil for 5 to 6 minutes each side. Then cover the pot, and place in a preheated 400º F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Laurie Lufkin, “Inspired Cooking,” 2013.

Note: You can watch a how-to video featuring Lufkin making this dish when viewing this story at

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