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Cozy noodle recipes: Miso mac and cheese, paccheri with Italian sausage and more

Pasta night has never looked so good.

Raise your hand if you've ever felt like you've reached your cooking limit by Wednesday. We feel you: Takeout can be enticing when you're not even through hump day but still busier than ever. But before you succumb to ordering in, close out the week on a homemade note with comfort food dishes that are worth an extra night in the kitchen. To get you inspired, Elena Besser stopped by TODAY to share two cozy noodle recipes that are easy enough for a weeknight dinner, yet impressive enough for a special weekend meal.

For a revamped version of a childhood favorite, try Besser’s creamy sweet potato miso mac and cheese. Tender shells are covered in an unexpected umami sauce and topped with golden-brown breadcrumbs. And let it be known that leftovers are unlikely with her paccheri pasta dish. This one-pot recipe is packed to the brim with flavor from Italian sausage, fennel, lemon, parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

Stay cozy through the weekend with a warming bowl of vegan three-bean chili or dive into our hearty mozzarella stick hotdish. Or if you’re craving something sweet, a slice of fudgy brownie pie should do the trick — because a balanced diet in our book always includes dessert.

Elena Besser's cozy noodle recipes

In this recipe, miso paste is the star of the show, balancing the naturally sweet flavor of sweet potatoes, transforming the iconic dish that is mac and cheese into an elevated adult version with a touch more pizazz. I love this recipe because it comes together quickly, yet still feels special.

This recipe is the perfect dinner for a casual weeknight or an elevated dinner party with friends. The best part? It all happens in one pot, minimizing cleanup and making the fruits of your labor well worth it. Serve on its own or alongside crusty bread to sop up all the flavorful sauce.

More recipes to make this week

Round out the week with these easy recipes from Rebecca Firkser, Riley Wofford and Jesse Szewczyk.

Vegan 3-Bean Chili

Meat isn’t mandatory to enjoy a smokey bowl of chili. This vegan three-bean recipe is bursting with flavor from chipotle chiles, fire-roasted tomatoes and a handful of vibrant spices. Not to mention, swapping ground meat for simple pantry ingredients makes it an affordable way to feed the entire family.

Mozzarella Stick Hotdish

If you thought a tater tot hotdish was exciting, just wait until you try one topped with mozzarella sticks. This casserole is super versatile since you can fill it with meat and veggies of your choice, and the creamy base can be made with either canned soup or an easy homemade sauce.

Fudgy Brownie Pie

When you can’t decide on a dessert to make, combining two together is never a bad idea. Our fudgy brownie pie is so elegant that you’d never guess it calls for boxed brownie mix and pre-made pie crust. Serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla and whipped cream for extra presentation points.