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Virtually every recipe I try from reader Caroline Kennedy’s family cookbook, “Recipes from a Mother’s Heart,” such as this one for French Toast Casserole, is a keeper. Ever generous, Caroline ceaselessly grants permission to reprint recipes from her book, and we are the richer (and better fed) for it. Because French Toast Casserole can be made-ahead of baking, you’re going to want to hold on to this recipe, especially for those times when you are entertaining guests for breakfast. And, should those guests be expected at this time of the year, when strawberries are in season – maybe for a Mother’s Day gathering – even better; French toast casserole is designed to be served with a sauce made from fresh strawberries. Caroline’s recipe for Baked Applewood-Smoked Bacon is another keeper and particularly toothsome paired with the casserole – balancing sweet and salty with smooth and crunchy. The cornmeal/brown sugar/black pepper-coated bacon can also be put together ahead of baking – another timesaver come time for breakfast. Although the recipe for French toast casserole calls for French bread (or Challah bread) in the list of ingredients, I found making it with leftover cinnamon-walnut coffee cake cubes particularly satisfying and flavorful. (You’ll find one of my favorite bread-machine coffee cake recipes here, too.) Mother’s Day will be here Sunday, so if your plans include a special breakfast for Mom, keep these recipes in mind. The most important meal of the day can also be the prettiest, especially when it’s created for Mom.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

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