Start the New Year Off with an Adventure at ShopRite’s Culinary Workshop

Are you bored with eating the same things week after week? Do you think you could use a night out to get those creative juices flowing? Maybe you’d like to learn some new kitchen tricks to widen your horizons or you’re just ready for a different twist on your regular schedule? Well, if you answered yes to any one of those questions, register for a class at one of Shoprite’s Culinary Workshops.

My husband and I did just that at the Woodbridge Shoprite last month. Even as an avid cook, I am always looking to learn a new thing or two and he, as an avid diner, is always looking to dine out.  The theme of the night was “Pasta Al Forno”, which included Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese, Smoked Cheddar and Seasoned Beef Rigatoni and Easy Biscoff Tiramisu. The two hour class was a small one, with a total of six participants all gathered around the cooking area. The area is unassuming, low-key and somewhat hidden. One might think a cooking class would be better set up, but for a twenty dollar class you can only expect so much. Nevertheless, the class got started right away and we got busy.

We were given utensils and ingredients to prep for the chef; all the while he was explaining the menu. Recipe cards were placed in front of our seats so that we were able to quickly follow along. I especially enjoyed how all the ingredients were out for viewing. Seeing that a three course meal only needed a limited number of ingredients made for a comfortable feeling that these recipes would be great for future use.

The first dish we put together was the Biscoff Tiramisu. If you haven’t heard of Biscoff, like I hadn’t, you should go out and get it asap! We were given a sampling of the spread and I was immediately hooked. The flavor is hard to describe, the best I can do is consider combining graham crackers and Nutella, with a peanut butter texture and appearance. Utterly amazing just as is, yet in this dessert it shined. The crowd pleasing treat came together in a snap and I took note that it is best to only dip your Lady Fingers into the espresso ½ way, as it will be just enough to saturate the cookie; completely dipping will result in a soggy result.

Next up was the Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese. Just the fact that this dish combined butter, Asiago cheese, goat cheese and whole milk had me willing to help out as much as possible, hoping that I could sneak a taste. Getting up to help out at the burner is encouraged, and tasting as you go, I realized, is a perk of the class. The creamy pasta dish was prepared almost effortlessly. The topping consisted of some unusual items, such as rosemary and almonds, but offered a nice crunch to counter the creaminess.

Last but certainly not least, we tackled the Rigatoni dish. Although I’m not a typical fan of ground beef, the combination of flavors and ingredients in this recipe had me rethinking my opinion of it. While the chef stirred barbeque sauce, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar into the beef, onion and pepper sauté, I began to smell the deliciousness this dish was going to bring. Sprinkling each bowl with bacon bits, chopped tomato, and shredded cheddar right before serving was a great addition to the presentation while providing a nice blend of textures.

It is almost hard to believe that all this was accomplished within only two hours. Actually, I’m lying; within that time span a lot more was accomplished. We met new people who shared their own tips and ideas, learned from a chef who was knowledgeable, personable, and quite experienced, ate a tasty dinner that I now have recipes for, used ingredients that I would have never tried, and became armed with new kitchen tricks to use in my own home. All for a total of twenty dollars a person! Needless to say, I recommend you look into this great cooking resource and register as soon as you can.

Locating one of Shoprite’s Culinary Workshops near you is easy, just go to .

Gina Glazier is a born and raised Jersey Girl. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy and currently teaches 5th grade. Gina lives with her husband Matt who is her number one fan and shares in her passion for the culinary arts, minus the cooking part! Her “culinary life” became a reality a few years back when she was chosen to be a guest of The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile. This ignited Gina’s desire to be around food and all its counterparts all the time, meaning restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, cooking, etc. Gina says her “biggest and most monumental experience” was being a part of  The Star Ledger’s Pizza Patrol two years ago where she traveled the entire state, eating at 3, 4, sometimes 5 pizzerias a night for just about 6 months! You can check out her Hungry Teacher adventures, on her