A couple people asked me about recipes for the roasted chicken and the soup, so I thought I'd share. Both are really simple!
First, the roasted chicken. After I clean and wash a whole chicken, I pat it dry and stuff the body cavity with cut up onions, carrots, and celery. I then work my hand up under the breast skin, gently loosening the skin from the meat, all the way down either side between the breast and thighs. Once I've loosened the skin, I add a spice rub of some kind into that cavity under the skin. My favorite--what I used yesterday--is lemon pepper, salt, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.
I then put the chicken in an uncovered roasting pan, brush it with a little oil, and sprinkle it with a little more salt and pepper. I bake it, uncovered, at a temperature anywhere from 375 degrees to 425 degrees (depending on whether I want to bake anything else with it) for about an hour and a half. I'll usually poke it with a long fork in the thigh or deep into the breast on the side to see if the juices run clear--if they do, it's done.
I took this photo maybe about an hour into roasting, so it hasn't turned nice and brown yet--but it does get more brown!
To make the gravy, after the chicken is done, I remove it from the pan and add about one to one and a half cups of hot water to the pan liquid/drippings along with a little chicken bouillon, or if I have it on hand, I'll add a can of chicken broth instead of the water and bouillon. I heat the liquid on the stove and add a tablespoon or two of soy sauce to make the broth darker and give it a little saltiness. In the meantime, I mix about 1/4 cup of milk with a couple tablespoons of flour--if I have a problem with lumps, I'll strain it. Once the broth in the pan begins to boil, I add in the flour mixture and continue simmering to thicken into gravy. Before serving, I'll correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
After we've eaten and I've removed the extra meat from the chicken (for another meal or to add it to the soup), I break up the carcass and put everything--bones and cooked veggies--into a large pot and cover with water and/or chicken broth. (If I use water, I'll usually add some chicken bouillon.) I simmer the pot on the stove, uncovered, for about an hour until the bones are falling apart. I strain the whole thing, setting aside the meat and veggies and returning the broth to a large pot.
To the broth, I add some seasonings--I have a seasoning called "Soup Pot" by McNess that I like to use, but I've also used a little rosemary, some sage and/or poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. At this point, I sometimes add chopped up vegetables--carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, or whatever I find in the refrigerator that appeals to me. If you add veggies, allow them to cook a bit before going on. Then, once the broth is "done," I stir in a can of undiluted cream of chicken soup. And if I don't have a need for the leftover gravy? That goes in too!
Continue to cook the broth on low heat until the meat/veggie mixture has cooled enough to handle. Pick the meat from the bones and return the meat to the broth, discarding the bones and veggies. Because I prefer white meat, I also shredded the leftover chicken breast from our dinner and added that to the broth as well, but you can add in whatever leftover chicken you may have, or just what's left on the bones--either way, the soup will be flavorful.
Last of all, I cook some egg noodle or other pasta or rice and add it to the soup. Don't quite cook it all the way as it will continue to cook in the hot broth as it all cools.
And that's it! Fairly simple cooking and you'll end up with a chicken dinner and enough soup for a few more meals!