Seven Layer Dip

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Seven Layer Dip
Story and Photos by Bailey Philman 

What is best part of every party? The Seven Layer Dip of course!

At least that is what Mallory Unger, a current graduate student at St. Mary’s University, thinks of her famous dish.

“This dip is definitely special. It’s always the first dish finished at every party. Everyone loves it and it’s perfect for not just parties but for snacks and even lunch,” Unger says.

Her love for food and entertaining came from being born to a military family, where traveling the country and moving every few years was expected.

“I learned from a young age to try everything once. That is what my Dad has always taught me. Plus, I have lived in so many different places and the food is always different everywhere I go,” says Unger.

Food may be an adventure for her but everyone has a favorite. A staple in Unger’s refrigerator is Italian food–pasta and meatballs are her favorite.

Unger may have travelled the country, but the small campus of St. Mary’s in San Antonio caught her eye.

She says that she loves St. Mary’s for its tight-knit community and how friendly everyone is here.

Her love of meeting new people led her to pursue a master’s degree in communication studies at St. Mary’s and eventually work for an advertising agency in the future.

So what’s the best advice she can offer to new students and cooks in the kitchen?

“When you make Seven Layer Dip, be sure to use a clear dish so people can see exactly what is in the dish. It’s also important to plan ahead and try your best to multitask,” Unger says.

And, of course, “Work hard, play hard!”


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
  • 4 c shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
  • 1 c guacamole
  • 1 c salsa
  • 1/2 c chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 c chopped green onions


In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature. Be sure to drain before adding to the dip. Spread the beans into the bottom of a clear bowl or serving tray that is at least 5 inches deep. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of beans. Sprinkle beef on top of cheese. Spread sour cream very slowly on top of beef. Spread guacamole on top of sour cream. Pour salsa over guacamole and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle tomatoes and green onions on top as garnish. You can serve this dish immediately, or refrigerate it over night and serve cold. I think it tastes better at room temperature. Makes 10 servings.

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