First things first, get all of your supplies together. Naturally, you need a whole chicken, different spices or herbs, marinade, salt and pepper and whatever the particular recipe may call for. Every good cook has a sharp knife and for cooking a whole chicken you'll also need a roasting pan and a meat thermometer.
Let's get cooking. Set your oven to 350 to preheat, and in the mean time clean out your chicken by removing the giblet bag that's usually inside. Wash the chicken with cold water and dry with paper towels. A good rule of thumb is to leave the skin on so the chicken stays moist while cooking. Season the bird however you want and put it in the roasting pan breast side up. Rub it well with either olive oil or the marinade and place in the oven uncovered.
How long do you cook a whole chicken? Usually a two pound chicken takes about one or one and a half hours to cook. Make sure you check it while cooking and when you see that the skin has browned nicely, take it out of the oven. Use your meat thermometer to check for doneness. One hundred eighty degrees in the thigh means your done! Of course you can also cut into the thigh and look to make sure there's no red or raw meat and clear juice to determine if the chicken is cooked well enough. I always let chicken sit for fifteen minutes to finish cooking before I carve it.
As always, be sure to clean up everything that the raw chicken may have touched, including anything that you touched with your 'chicken hands' while preparing it for the oven. Keeping your family healthy and free from contamination is just as important as feeding them delicious, home-cooked food from the heart.
There is a trend growing called 'batch cooking', and you can use roasted or baked chicken for this purpose. Spend a day cooking a few whole chickens and use the meat to make several meals for the coming weeks. You can freeze the chicken in parts or shred it for tacos, soups, salad etc. A quick week day meal that everyone loves is shredded bbq chicken on buns with fries and a salad. Easy and yummy!