Pillbox

Here's what's cooking at Entropy+

A basic but sparse selection of ingredients can be found at Entropy+. (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) A basic but sparse selection of ingredients can be found at Entropy+. (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Make these delicious breakfast muffins with just five ingredients that you can buy at Entropy+.  (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Make these delicious breakfast muffins with just five ingredients that you can buy at Entropy+. (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Craving some homemade Italian food? How about adapting the classic lasagna for an easy-to-make alternative? (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Craving some homemade Italian food? How about adapting the classic lasagna for an easy-to-make alternative? (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Get your fruity fix with this decadent crumble. (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor) Get your fruity fix with this decadent crumble. (credit: Laura Scherb/Assistant Pillbox Editor)

Entropy+ is “Carnegie Mellon’s very own campus convenience store,” according to the Carnegie Mellon Dining Services website. And yet, every time I walk in, I’m surprised by the lack of simple ingredients on the shelves. Yes, they have five dozen varieties of chips, candy, and bread. But the simple things that dedicated bakers and cooks can’t live without are sometimes inexplicably absent. On a day that you don’t feel like hiking down to IGA in Oakland or Giant Eagle in Squirrel Hill, the absence of basic ingredients can be a real buzzkill.

That being said, Entropy+ isn’t without hope. There are some things to work with there. Whether you’re whipping up a romantic dinner for two or planning on bringing a sweet treat to a meeting, here are some dishes that you can make using ingredients found at Entropy+.

Breakfast and brunch

**Omelette Casserole **
(Note: This refrigerates overnight and is baked in the morning.)

What to buy: eggs, milk, ham (optional), cheddar cheese, bread
What you need: baking dish, salt, pepper, refrigerator, oven
What to do: Rip four to six slices of bread into pieces, and lay them out on the bottom of the greased pan. Sprinkle with half the package of cheddar cheese and add the ham, if you’re using it. In a bowl, combine five eggs and one cup of milk. Add the salt and pepper, then pour the mixture over the bread and cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 325˚F. Bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes at 350˚F. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and serve.

Blueberry Muffins

What to buy: pancake mix, sugar, eggs, applesauce, blueberries (or your choice of berry)
What you need: cupcake tin, oven (if you don’t have a tin, you can easily use an eight-by-eight-inch baking dish)
What to do: Preheat the oven to 400˚F and grease the tin. Mix the pancake mix with half a cup of sugar in one bowl, and mix one egg with two-thirds of a cup of water and a quarter cup of applesauce in another. Then, add the wet ingredients to the dry, and fold in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 12-16 minutes.

Cheerio Delight
(adapted from busybuthealthy.com)

What to buy: Cheerios, peanut butter, honey, sugar
What you need: pot, stove, water, aluminum foil
What to do: On a stovetop, warm half a cup of peanut butter, half a cup of honey, one-third of a cup of sugar, and two tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to boil for less than a minute, then remove from heat and stir in three cups of Cheerios. Spoon onto aluminum foil and allow to set.

Dinner

Meatless Lasagna

What to buy: choice of noodles, cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, container of Ragu tomato sauce
What you need: pot, stove, baking dish, oven
What to do: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cook the noodles, then drain them and add half of the Ragu. In the meantime, mix the cottage cheese with two eggs and set aside. In a baking dish, put (in order) a thin layer of sauce, half of the noodles, more sauce, the cheese and egg mixture, the rest of the noodles, mozzarella cheese, the rest of the sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until melted and gooey.

Tuna Shepherd’s Pie
(adapted from food.com)

What to buy: two cans of tuna, frozen peas, carrots, mayonnaise, one box of instant mashed potatoes
What you need: baking dish, oven
What to do: Preheat the oven to 350˚F and prepare the mashed potatoes. Set them aside. Flake the tuna into a bowl and add the veggies. Add about one-third of a cup of the mayo and mix lightly. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for about 35 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken Skillet

What to buy: frozen chicken nuggets, noodles, container of Ragu tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese
What you need: skillet, pot
What to do: Cook the noodles and drain them. In the skillet, warm the chicken nuggets to desired temperature, then add the Ragu. When warm, stir in the pasta. Remove from heat after the pasta is coated in the sauce, then stir in the mozzarella cheese until it’s melted. Top with parmesan, then serve.

Desserts and delicacies

Fruit Crumble for One (or two, depending on how generous you feel)

What to buy: one package of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, butter, brown sugar, instant oatmeal
What you need: oven, baking dish
What to do: Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease the baking dish. Mix the berries with a quarter cup of brown sugar and pour into the dish. Pour a pack (or two, depending on how much topping you want) of cinnamon-and-spice oatmeal on top. Drizzle about a tablespoon of melted butter on top and bake until the topping is golden brown (about 25 minutes).

Cake-Mix Cookies
(adapted from duncanhines.com)

What to buy: one package of cake mix, butter, eggs, M&Ms (optional)
What you need: oven, cookie sheet
What to do: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix half a cup (one stick) of melted butter and two eggs into the cake mix. Add the M&Ms, if you’re using them. Drop the dough onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

No-Bake Cheesecake

What to buy: two packages of cream cheese, one package of Nilla wafers, butter, heavy whipping cream, sugar
What you need: baking dish, refrigerator
What to do: Melt three tablespoons of butter and combine with crushed Nilla wafers. Press into the bottom of the pan and set aside. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, half a cup of cream, and one-third of a cup of sugar. Pour on top of the crust and refrigerate for at least an hour.