By Christine HinrichsSince fall, my weekends have been filled with football games and party snacks until Super Bowl Sunday. Even my friends who are not football enthusiasts are willing to watch a game if food and drinks are part of the equation! Football games are a great opportunity to gather with friends, enjoy tasty treats, and yell mercilessly at the television. Hopefully your neighbors are accustomed to the noise!Here are a few of my tips to having the perfect football-party menu. If you are going to be cooking your own food, choose three to four dishes to make the day of the big game. I usually pick an appetizer, a dip, and either a main course or a dessert to serve at my parties. Also, when considering what you want to serve, choose things that have similar ingredients. Then you have consistency in your options and it’s easier and cheaper to shop. And pick a few items that you can buy pre-made to complement what beer cheese dip you’re cooking or to delegate out to your guests. Finally, think about the game you’re watching. Is it an early-afternoon game? Maybe you want to set up a Bloody Mary bar. If it’s an evening game, you might want to do a main course and one appetizer. But jerseys and loud cheering should always be encouraged!Here are a few of my favorite game-day appetizers to help you build the perfect menu for your own party.Beer Cheese DipMakes about 2 cups of cheese dipAdapted from The Joy of CookingIngredients1 cup of good beer (Summit Extra Pale Ale is always a great option)1 tablespoon cornstarch1 tablespoon water8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated3 ounces gruyere, grated or chopped into small pieces1 ounce cream cheese, broken into pieces¼ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce¼ tablespoon Dijon mustardDirectionsHeat the beer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Once the beer is warmed, add the cornstarch mixture and whisk together until thickened, about two minutes.Add the cheeses about a half of a cup at a time, stirring in a figure-8 pattern with a wooden spoon. Once the cheese has melted, add another half of a cup, until you have added all of the cheese. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, stirring to combine. Serve the cheese dip hot with an assortment of bread cubes (Stirato is great bread for cheese dip) and vegetables. If you have a small crockpot, serve the cheese in that to keep it warm. Otherwise, put the dip in a microwave-safe bowl so you can re-heat as necessary.Christine Hinrichs is a vegetarian who loves everything related to food. She daydreams about recipes, frequents the local farmers’ markets, and reads cookbooks before bed. When not preoccupied with food, she enjoys running the lakes and trails in the Twin Cities and helps rescue stray animals from local shelters. Read about her food adventures at ruminationsonfood.blogspot.com.