Nathan Chastain is skilled at bringing Disney characters to life on the ice but he's also a talented cook.
"I went to culinary school for a short while," said Chastain, who became a fan of the cooking craft as a child watching his mother and grandmother cook.
The skater is currently starring in "Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic," running today through Sept. 15 at Chicago's United Center. FYI: Tickets, starting at $13, are available at ticketmaster.com or the United Center box office, 1901 W. Madison St. For other information, visit disneyonice.com
Chastain, a native of Kentucky, attended The Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State University. His love of food was developed in the family kitchen.
"My grandmother was always making something special. She'd have big meals and would always invite everyone over," Chastain said. Sunday meals were particularly special.
"She'd start early in the morning and make all the food for (Sunday) dinner," the skater said, about his grandmother.
Among favorite family dishes were homemade applesauce and chocolate chip cookies and homemade pies. One of Chastain's favorite recipes, which he enjoys making often, is a Watergate Casserole, prepared with broccoli, rice and chicken.
"I make that whenever I get the chance," he said.
As an athlete, Chastain favors following the healthy eating track.
"I'm health conscious and don't eat fried anything," he said. He enjoys roasted or steamed vegetables, roast or grilled chicken, lettuce wraps and other healthy fare. "I try to stay away from high sugar items," he said.
The skater said he previously worked in a restaurant and can make a "pretty mean salad."
When Chastain splurges, though, pizza is on his list of favorite foods.
"I love good ol' pizza or lasagna. And a good vanilla bean ice cream is hard to resist."
Skating in Disney on Ice shows, Chastain said, is a dream come true for a professional skater. Chastain has been with Disney on Ice since 2011. "I enjoy skating and I like the people I work with," he said.
Try Chastain's recipe for Watergate Casserole.
6 servings of cooked rice
10 ounces of cooked broccoli
2 pounds cooked, boneless, skinless chicken, large dice
DIRECTIONS: After cooking rice, chicken and broccoli, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a greased 9 by 11 pan, (Pam works well) assemble in layers. For sauce: Mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cans cream of chicken (Campbell's works well ) and 2 teaspoons of curry powder. Add milk to thin, consistency should be similar to thick gravy. Sprinkle shredded cheddar to cover top. Cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes or until bubbling then remove foil and cook until cheese is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy!
Source: Nathan Chastain