It might take a little effort, but purchasing a whole chicken at the grocery store and cutting it up yourself for baked chicken will save you money in the long run. A whole bird is almost always cheaper per pound than a package of parts already cut up. In addition you'll also get the chicken organs, neck and backbone that you can use for making your own chicken stock. It only takes about five minutes to cut up a chicken and a few minutes more to prepare the pieces for baking in the oven, making it an economical and fast dinner option.
Things You'll Need
Seasonings, to taste
Lay your whole chicken breast side up on a clean cutting board.
Stretch out one of the wings and use a sharp chef's knife to cut through the ball joint where it meets the breast to remove it. Repeat with the other wing.
Pull one of the legs away from the body and slash through the stretched skin between the thigh part of the legs and the breast.
Bend the chicken leg back away from the body until the ball joint pops out of the socket and cut through the joint to remove the leg. Remove the other leg in the same manner.
Cut through the ball joint where the drumstick part of the leg and the thigh meet. Wiggle the drumstick part to help locate the joint. Repeat with the other chicken leg so that you have two drumsticks and two thighs.
Flip the breast over so that back is facing up and cut along one side of the back bone from the head to the tail, using kitchen shears or a sharp kitchen knife. Repeat on the other side to remove the back bone.
Cut the breast in half by pushing your knife down firmly on the breast bone. Use a kitchen towel to help you push down on the top of the knife until you split the breast into two pieces.
Cut the two breasts in half again, going across, if you want four smaller breast pieces.
Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces with paper towels. Remove the outer skin, if you wish.
Season the chicken with spices of your choice such as salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika, or douse the chicken in a sauce or marinade. You can also insert herbs like rosemary and thyme under the skin of the chicken pieces.
Place the chicken pieces skin side up in a small roasting pan coated with olive oil. Place the larger pieces in the center of the pan and leave a little space between the chicken pieces.
Bake the chicken in the oven for about 30 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 F and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the juices run clear when you have poked the chicken pieces with a knife. The internal temperature of the chicken must also reach at least 165 F in the thickest part of each piece.
Transfer the cooked chicken from the oven to a serving plate and cover with aluminum foil until ready to serve.
Turn the oven to broil for the last five minutes of cooking if you want the chicken to brown further.
Create a gravy by pouring the chicken drippings into a saucepan, add chicken stock and heat on high, letting it reduce and thicken to your liking.
Raw chicken can harbor dangerous bacteria and you must handle it carefully when you are working with it. Wipe down with bleach any surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken and wash the cutting board, the knife and your hands with hot, soapy water.