To help fans plan their get-togethers for this month’s National Collegiate Athletic Association’s March Madness, Minneapolis-based Betty Crocker partnered with actor and TV personality Mario Lopez to create 16 beer-infused party food ideas for its second annual “Betty Bracket” recipe showdown. All 16 recipes in this year’s bracket use beer to give a modern twist to party foods such as nachos, sliders, cupcakes and popsicles.

“Nothing brings friends together like the fun and excitement of watching live sports,” Lopez said in a statement. “And even when we’re cheering for different teams, the one thing we can usually agree on is great food — it brings people together. The Betty Bracket combines the things I love most about sports — good friends and good food — and I’m excited to share these amazing party food ideas with other fans like me.”

All-new for 2012, the Betty Bracket program will feature both savory and sweet ideas that leverage the trend of cooking with beer. The eight savory Beer Meets Bar Food recipes include “Cheesetastic” ideas including Lopez’s favorite Beer Queso Nachos, a meatless take on traditional nachos, and “Meaty Eats” ideas such as Beer Mi Asian Meatball Subs inspired by the popularity of the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. The eight sweet Beer Meets Bakery recipes include “Chocolate!” ideas such as a Tall, Dark and Stout Chocolate Layer Cake inspired by the revival of the layer cake, and “Sweet Treats” ideas such as Black and Tan Beer Pops, which play upon the popularity for ice pops, according to Betty Crocker.

“At Betty Crocker, we’re all about creating memorable connections with family and friends through food,” said Susan Klobuchar, food content marketing manager at Betty Crocker, in a statement. “Our Betty Bracket took inspiration from the current trend of cooking with beer to create 16 ideas that give a unique twist to party food favorites. We are so excited to partner with Mario to share these ideas with other sports fans who are planning their basketball viewing parties this March, and we can’t wait to see which idea will ultimately win the bracket!”

From March 13 through March 28, fans can cast their votes on the 16 recipes to determine the top party food. There will be three rounds of voting; after each round of voting, recipes will be eliminated and the top picks will move on to the next round. The winning recipe will be announced March 29. To vote, fans must visit