I like to cook for my family, but I also like to cook enough so that I don’t HAVE to cook every single day. I like having leftovers that I can heat up in just a few minutes, and boom – dinner! When my boys were even smaller, I could pretty much make any dish go for at least two meals, but now, not so much. (I KNOW – they are only 3 & 5…I don’t even want to think about when they are teenagers.)
In the winter time, I have it fairly easy because I can make soups and chili that last us at least two or three days. I can divide them up, too, and freeze them so we aren’t literally eating them for three days in a row.
Warmer months are a little trickier, but I have found one thing that is versatile enough that I can stretch it out for several meals in either summer or winter: a whole chicken.
Whether we eat it just as it was cooked, or I debone it and use the meat to make chicken pot pie, barbecue chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos, or any number of chicken dishes, it feeds us well for a few days.
I used to cook it on the stove top, like my mom always did, bringing it to a boil and then cooking it low and slow all morning, and I still do it like this when I want a bit more stock for my dish, such as chicken and dumplings or chicken and noodles.
However, my favorite way to cook a chicken now is to oven roast it because it produces a more flavorful, moist meat, and the best method/recipe that I’ve found was one that I came across last year sometime, where they cooked it at 450 degrees – THE WHOLE TIME. (Most oven-roasted chicken directions say to heat your oven to 350).
I know you could easily pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store deli, but honestly, it’s sooo easy to roast your own, with your own seasonings, that I would only buy one in a pinch.
Lisa at My Own Sweet Thyme has a yummy sounding recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken, which is where I got my cooking directions. I haven’t actually tried her recipe as a whole, though.
My recipe is less precise, with some salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and olive oil being dashed over the chicken in a roasting pan and cooked about an hour, uncovered, at 450 (until the thickest part of the chicken is at least 165 degrees.)
Even though I don’t always have the exact same measurements on my ingredients, it always comes out delicious with crispy skin and juicy, flavorful chicken.
Here’s how I make my oven-roasted chicken:
- 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs. usually)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Pepper
- ½-1 tsp. Rosemary
- ½-1 tsp. Thyme
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to your roasting pan, and swirl the pan to coat the bottom.
- Remove chicken from packaging, and rinse slightly, removing that fun package of “extras” from inside the chicken cavity. You can either cook those extras separately, toss them in the roasting pan with the chicken (they may overcook), use them to make chicken stock, or throw them away.
- Pat the rinsed chicken dry with paper towels.
- Place the chicken into the roasting pan, breast up, and tuck the wings under. (I’ve never been super fancy with my chicken prep, so I’ve never tied the legs or anything. If you want to, have at it.)
- In a small bowl or cup, combine your salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary.
- Sprinkle your seasoning over the top of the chicken. You can put it under the skin or inside the cavity, too, if you’d like.
- Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top of the chicken (maybe about a tablespoon or less).
- Place roasting pan into the oven, uncovered, and roast chicken for about an hour, or until it is cooked to at least 165 when you test the thickest, densest part of the chicken (the area between the breast, leg, and thigh).
- Remove the pan from the oven, and let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. You can tent the chicken with foil while it rests to keep in some of the moisture.