Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease shallow 3- to 3 1/2-quart ceramic or glass baking dish; set aside. Arrange bread on 2 large ungreased cookie sheets, and toast in oven 16 to 17 minutes or until golden and dry, turning slices over halfway through toasting.
Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium 1 minute. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook about 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; stir in parsley, poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
With serrated knife, cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and place in very large bowl. Reset oven control to 325 degrees. Add chicken broth and vegetable mixture to bread in bowl; toss until bread mixture is evenly moistened.
Spoon stuffing into prepared baking dish. Cover dish with foil and bake stuffing 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until heated through and lightly browned on top.
Nutritional information is based on a 1/2-cup serving.
To make Whole-Grain Apple-Fennel Stuffing: Prepare stuffing as above in step 1, but substitute 1 loaf (24 ounces) sliced whole-grain bread for white bread. In step 2, increase olive oil to 2 tablespoons, and omit carrots and celery. Add onion to skillet, and cook with 1 bulb fennel (1 pound), trimmed of stems, then chopped, 10 minutes or until tender. Omit parsley and poultry seasoning. Stir in 2 Golden Delicious apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks, and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves along with salt and pepper. In step 3, to bread cubes in bowl, add apple mixture, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup water along with broth. Complete recipe as in step 4. Makes about 13 cups.
Nutritional information is based on a 1/2-cup serving: About 85 calories, 4 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (0 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium.
To make Sausage, Chestnut, and Mushroom Stuffing: Prepare stuffing as above in step 1, except use only 1 loaf bread. In step 2, omit oil. In skillet, cook 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed, on medium 10 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking up sausage with side of spoon. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to small bowl. In same skillet in sausage drippings, cook onion and only 1 stalk celery (omit carrots) 8 minutes. Stir in 1 package (10 ounces) sliced white mushrooms, and cook 10 minutes or until golden. Omit parsley, poultry seasoning, and salt; stir in 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme with pepper. In step 3, to bread in bowl, add sausage, vegetable mixture, and 1 1/2 cups chopped roasted, peeled chestnuts (from about 1 pound chestnuts) or 1 jar (7.4 ounces) roasted chestnuts, chopped, with broth. Complete recipe as in step 4. Makes about 12 cups.
Nutritional information is based on a 1/2-cup serving: About 135 calories, 5 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 7 g total fat (2 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 15 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium.