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The minute I saw the cover of “Dude Food: A Guy’s Guide for Cooking Kick-Ass Food” by Dan Churchill (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, NY), I knew this was the perfect gift for so many men in my life. This is the cookbook for guys who have always wanted to cook but don’t know where to start. Each mouthwatering, easy recipe has a beautiful color photo and is easy to follow and replicate.  In addition, the book has some wonderful hints and tips.  I have learned quite a bit from just reading it, but now I am going to make the Chicken and Avocado Pie (two of my favorite ingredients). Thanks, Dan.

Dan is a man after my own heart. He started cooking for his family at the age of 12, impressed his friends’ moms and girlfriends with his cooking skills, and will turn any dude into a cook.  Dan is also a physical trainer and speaker, and in 2013 he was on “MasterChefAustralia.”  You can visit him at danielchurchill.com.au.

Chicken Avo Pie

Serves four

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive/macadamia oil

1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

2 1/2 cups trimmed green beans

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup grated tasty cheese (like cheddar), plus extra for sprinkling (optional)

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

2 sheets puff pastry

1 regular egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Place the sweet potato in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook the sweet potato until just soft. Use a skewer to check—if it goes through with little resistance, it is perfect. Drain and allow to cool.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly golden on all sides. Remove the chicken and add the onion and garlic to the pan; cook until lightly golden. Add the green beans and continue to stir for 2 minutes more. Return the chicken to the pan and add the cooked sweet potato, mushrooms, tarragon, and thyme. Continue to stir as you add the stock and cook for 1 minute more before adding the wine and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Gradually add the cheese. This mixture can then be refrigerated and used at a later time, i.e., if you come back late from work.

Divide the mixture evenly among ovenproof hot-pot bowls and top with the avocado slices. Sprinkle with extra cheese, if you’d like, and cover with the puff pastry. Using your knife, trim the pastry, making sure to leave a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Press the pastry against the edge of the bowl to seal. Using a fork, prick the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush the pastry with egg and bake for 30 minutes.

Tip: The secret to this recipe is to cook all the filling ingredients until they are three-quarters done. This prevents them from being overdone when they are baked.

Editor’s note: For more edible delights by Sheilah Kaufman, go to www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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