A well-baked chicken can make a tasty and nutritious meal for your family. Baking your chicken is one of the easiest and healthiest methods of preparing your scrumptious feast. There are many variations on the traditional baked chicken, from seasoning with lemon pepper, to adding exotic spices like curry, teriyaki and mesquite.

The first step in baking a moist and juicy chicken is to choose the right chicken for your meal. Whole roasters are the best choice for baking chicken. You can also use cut up chicken, such as skinless breasts, drumsticks, wings or thigh and leg portions. When selecting your roaster, make sure you get the right size chicken for the amount of people you are serving. A 4-5 pound chicken will adequately serve the average family of five. The next step in baking your chicken is to prepare the meat for baking. Thoroughly wash the chicken, taking care to clean out the cavity and remove any innards if you are using a whole roaster. Use hot or warm water to remove any excess dirt from the skin of the chicken.

Next, prepare a marinade for your chicken. For the best flavor, it’s best to marinate your chicken overnight. However, if you will be serving the chicken right away, you will have to marinate your chicken in a shorter span of time. Placing your freshly washed chicken in a shallow roasting pan, lightly season your chicken. Popular chicken seasonings include black pepper, coarse salt, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning or lemon pepper. Many people soak their chicken in red cooking wine to bring out a richer flavor in the meat. Many people add chopped onion or fruit, such as pineapple to add more succulent flavors to the chicken. Finally, chop a small clove of garlic in half and make a small slit in the chicken. Place the garlic under the skin. Allow your chicken to soak in the flavoring overnight, or if serving immediately, for up to one hour.

After your chicken has marinated, you are ready to bake. Set your oven to 375 degrees and allow to preheat for 10-15 minutes. After preheating your oven , place your roasting pan on the center rack of the oven. Bake your chicken for 30 minutes at this setting, checking occasionally. When the outer skin of your chicken is browned to a golden color, place a top over the roasting pan or wrap the chicken tightly in foil to prevent the skin from scorching. Continue to bake your chicken at 375 for an additional 15 minutes, occasionally spooning the drippings over the meat to preserve its natural juices.

While your chicken is cooking, make a light gravy using the drippings from the meat that has accumulated in your roasting pan. Using a large spoon or ladle, remove about 1/2 cup of drippings from the roaster and place into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, boil the drippings on your stovetop, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Gradually add white flour to the drippings, one tablespoon at a time, until you reached the desired thickness. Pour this gravy mixture over your chicken, reserving part of the gravy to use when serving your chicken. Allow the chicken to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Chicken is done when juices run off clear when the chicken is sliced.

Making a succulent, juicy and tasty baked chicken does not need to be difficult or time consuming. By using quality ingredients, carefully marinating and preserving the chicken’s natural juices, you will be able to create a chicken masterpiece that your entire family will enjoy.

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