There are many ways to cook chicken, it's like the swiss army knife of food.
Let's start with the chicken salad thing.
I assume that you already have a recipe so you know how much chicken you'll need. Grab a pan that the meat will easily fit in and has plenty of extra room (2 quart or plus with a lid), place the defrosted breasts inside and cover with liquid. Now here's where you can get inventive, you can use chicken/vegetable broth to add a bit of flavor or adding in tyme and lemon juice to water will "brighten" the taste, I've even added dried poblano peppers with oniin and garlic for a bit of a change in my salad if you're unsure stick with water because you're going to add other flavors when you finish off the salad anyway.
Bring it to a good boil (larger bubbles) then turn the heat down to a simmer (smaller but continuous bubbles) add a lid and let alone for about 10 minutes, if they have bones make it 20 to be sure of doneness.
Pull the breasts out and leave them to cool down before adding to salad it'll cook the other ingredients and maybe your fingers..lol.
I suggest getting one of those Perdue "roaster in a bag" and make that sometime. It's easy, tastes good, and you'll find out that you can do a whole lot more than you think in the kitchen.
On raost chicken, I feel that is is simpler to make than it takes to write it out even. My mother would roast chicekn all the time. It was a staple and one that she was used to making. I think that it is less common today, but we still enjoy it.
The core temperature is important though.
We'll got with a smalled bird, 5 lb is a big bird for my small family, so I look for 3-4 lb young birds. I don't make too many other distinctions when buying a chicken other than the size and the price. The local/organic ones are comparable in price to the national brands and tend to be smaller, so I lean toward them, but tyson/butterball/purdue birds are fine.
- Not a huge difference but I roast mine at 350. Breast side down in a roasting pan. (It's not as pretty, but I think this keeps the breast meat basted from the fattier back meat.) Using the formula of 15 minutes, plus add 20 minute for each pound.
- 5 lb bird is 15 (20x5) = just shy of 2 hours.
- 3 lb bird is 15 (20x3) = 1 hr 15 minutes.
- My extra test is to pierce the skin near the thigh/leg to make sure it's clear and not too red. I pop it back for a little extra if it's not clear.
Most chickens are packaged with the organs stuffed inside the chest cavity. You need to remove this before cooking. My cats love the treat & I use the neck to make stock.