Mario Lopez’s March Madness Plans: Make Nachos & Watch Basketball

Mario Lopez

Michael Darter

updated 03/12/2012 AT 10:00 AM ET

originally published 03/12/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET

He may be known for his buff bod, but Mario Lopez can still appreciate a deliciously cheesy recipe.

The newly engaged Extra host, 38, has teamed up with Betty Crocker in honor of college basketball’s March Madness. In three rounds called the Betty Bracket, fans can go online from March 12 through March 28 and vote for their favorite party food.

And when it comes to Lopez’s favorite, beer is involved. Beer and cheese!

“Nothing brings friends together like the fun and excitement of watching live sports,” Lopez tells PEOPLE. “And even when we’re cheering for different teams, the one thing we can usually agree on is food.”

His pick? Betty Crocker’s beer queso nachos.

“I love food and I’m not a calorie counter,” Lopez says, adding that his fiancée Courtney Mazza is “a great cook,” and his daughter Gia “has my appetite.”

Follow the recipe below to make some Beer Queso Nachos to serve up at your own March Madness parties:

Beer Queso Nachos

8 cups tortilla chips
½ cup lager beer, such as a Boston lager
2 cups shredded American cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Old El Paso chopped green chiles, drained
1 can Progresso black beans, drained, rinsed
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
½ cup Old El Paso Thick ‘n Chunky salsa
1 medium tomato, seeded, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper and arrange chips on cookie sheet.

Bake five minutes to warm chips.

Meanwhile, in a two-quart saucepan, heat beer over medium heat until just starting to simmer. Slowly add the cheeses in small amounts, stirring constantly with whisk, until melted. Stir in chiles.

In a medium bowl, mix beans and salsa. Microwave uncovered on high for two or three minutes, or until hot.

Pour half of the cheese sauce over warm chips, then top with half of the bean mixture. Then top with the remaining ingredients.

Mario Lopez

Michael Darter


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