Let's talk basketball -- the real reason you're even hosting this party in the first place, right? So you should probably know what's going on, if you don't already. For the basics, check out this article here. It's down to the Final Four for NCAA College Basketball. That's a term we all know, right?

For those of you seasoned March Madness participants, you already know what's up and you've probably been following these teams from the beginning, created your Facebook event, bought some brews, and have your recipes lined up. But for the rest of us...

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Who doesn't love a good app?

Let's be real, half the reason why we all go to these parties is for the food and the drinks. Of course we'll tune in to the game when it gets exciting, but we're here to socialize and indulge.

The die-hard fans will be glued to the TV while the rest of us stuff our faces with homemade pizzas and wash them down with a crisp, cold beer. At the end of the day we might talk about the game but what you'll remember was how good that spinach and artichoke dip was and how hungover you were the next day at work, but also how much it was worth it.

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But remember, you gotta go big or go home if you're the host. No one's going to remember the party with just Chips And Salsa and light beer. This year I made this super easy, crowd favorite, buffalo cheese dip in my slow cooker. And guess what? It took 10 minutes of prep, tops. Here's all you need to know:

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup bleu cheese dressing (you can substitute ranch if you prefer)
  • 1 cup (or to taste) Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Combine cream cheese and dressing in slow cooker on high.

After they're warm enough and blended, add all the other ingredients and let it simmer until it's a big gooey pot of delicious, spicy, cheesy goodness. Eat with chips, celery, pita bread, a spoon, your hands, etc.

This recipe is super simple and cost-efficient, making it a great addition to a novice party host's tool box. If you're looking for more ideas, this article has some great suggestions for party snacks.

Don't forget the beer

As a lover of beer, I find it kind of insulting to my palate when the only option is light beer. Now, don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for light beer, it's just never where I am, though, in my opinion, craftier isn't always better. At my party, I made sure there was a variety, something for everyone, and that everyone was drinking responsibly.

For the IPA crazies, and as a Bostonian, I recommend Harpoon IPA or Lord Hobo's BoomSauce, a fun small-brewer craft beer.

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Side note: Lord Hobo Brewing Co. has some great beer names and can designs. In terms of light beer, I'm honestly more of a Rolling Rock or Pabst fan myself. But, if I had to pick one beer to drink for the rest of my life, I gotta go with Sam Adams Boston Lager. It's nothing crazy but, let me tell you, it never gets old. If you're on the fence about drinking beer, check out this article here about 10 reasons why it's good for you; as if I needed a reason in the first place, am I right?

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But also, Coke and lemonade are great alternatives to alcohol.

That's basically all you need. A couple of good snacks (I personally love chips and salsa, too), some cold beverages, and a good group of friends is the perfect recipe for a great night in. Cheers, and go Loyola (the true underdogs).

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