Whole chickens are cheap. And tasty. Sure, they aren't THAT much cheaper than getting the already roasted ones from the grocery store, but food stamps won't buy an already roasted chicken and I can't brag if I didn't roast it myself.
If you're afreared of roasting a whole bird, here's my surefire recipe that will have you standing over the roasted carcass picking at the meat like some kind of hyena, and only a tiny bit ashamed that it's sooooo good you couldn't bother getting a plate.
Preheat oven to 375.
Take one whole roasting chicken. Reach in the cavity and pull out any organs, etc. Rinse the bird inside and out with cool water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Let the bird come up to room temp while you do everything else.
Make an onion rack. Basically you slice rounds of onion so they are the same thickness and cover the bottom of the roasting pan with them. This keeps the bird off the bottom of the pan and makes an awesome gravy later.
Microwave one stick of butter in a bowl till it's all melty. Season heavily with salt, pepper, sage, or whatever you want your chicken to taste like. You're basically making a flavored butter rub, so go insane with the spices and the salt.
Take your hand and loosen the skin from the breast meat gently. Grab a handful of the butter mix and rub under the skin as far as you can. If you're good, you can get all the way down to the legs and thighs without breaking the skin. Then rub the top of the skin and the inside cavity with the butter mix. Place bird on onion rack, breast side up. Don't worry about tucking wings or tying things up. This doesn't actually do anything cooking wise but make it take longer.
Take one lightish beer and a piece of cheesecloth. Soak the cheesecloth in the beer and drape over the chicken. Save the rest of the beer for basting. Put the bird in the oven and baste with the beer every 20 minutes to half hour or so. Chicken should take an hour and a half to 2 hours, depending on the bird and the oven. Use a meat thermometer in the thigh (careful not to touch the bones of the side of the pan with the thermometer or your readings will be off).
When the thermometer says 190, pull the chicken out and let it rest for a bit. You can now remove the cheesecloth and you will have perfect crisp brown skin and juicy meat.
And a quick how to for carving.
1. Remove the wings
2. Remove the legs and thighs.
3. Most people at this point start cutting down the breastbone- DON'T DO THIS YET. Instead make a horizontal cut from the outside (where the legs used to be) in as far as you can. Do this to both sides.
4. Then you cut down on each the breast bone. You should be able to remove 2 perfect, skin intact breasts.