This blogger and dietetic intern knows the value of creativity when it comes to stretching her cooking dollars. Her creativity inspires us, and we're glad to name her a #FamilyDinnerHero. Read about each of the nominees, and vote for your favorite.
Credit: Elizabeth Lavin

Hometown: Lubbock, Texas

COOKING LIGHT: What’s your key to being a dinner hero?

KALEIGH MCMORDIE: I’m often shocked at how much I can make with what I have on hand. Most of my sauces and marinades start with the same base, so I try to always have those things. I’ll make a batch of pasta or enchilada sauce on a Sunday (especially if I have veggies past their prime that need to be used) and then can or freeze the sauces. It’s not only cheaper, it’s also healthier than store-bought without all of the added sodium and sugar.

CL: Tell us more about your “challenge weeks.”

KM: For the last week of the month, I like to use up what we have instead of going to the store. It makes it fun for me since I like the challenge of making a salad out of random ingredients. I feel like my life is a cooking show where I get to open my basket and see what I have.

CL: Any other budget tips?

KM: I make all of my own bread from a sourdough starter once a week, so that helps us save money, and I think it’s much healthier because there are no preservatives, plus it just tastes way better.

CL: How has your view of healthy eating evolved?

KM: I used to view healthy as eating only salads, fruit, and grilled chicken with very little fat, but that’s not sustainable or healthy. Studying nutrition, having a blog, and living with my husband have shaped that into eating to nourish my body, including all food groups. Now I eat mindfully and enjoy what I want—in moderation of course.

Coconut Crusted Fish Tacos Recipe

Recipe by Kaleigh McMordie

“When I was younger, I viewed healthy eating as eating only salads, fruit, and grilled chicken all the time with very little fat, but that's not sustainable or healthy,” Kaleigh says. “Studying nutrition, having a blog ,and living with another person has helped shape that into eating to nourish my body and my spouse, including all food groups, as well as eating mindfully and enjoying what I want (in moderation of course!) Coconut Crusted Fish Tacos is of my favorite healthy recipes that was actually one of the first I ever came up with!”

Mango Salsa

  • 2/3 cup diced peeled mango
  • 1 diced plum tomato
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia filets
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. cotija cheese
  • Fresh jalapeno slices (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl; toss well.
3. To prepare tacos, combine coconut, panko, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder in a shallow dish, stirring well. Squeeze lime juice evenly over fish; sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Coat fish evenly with cooking spray. Dredge in coconut mixture. Place fish on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
4. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish, salsa, avocado, and cheese evenly among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges and jalapeno slices.

SERVES 8 (serving size: 2 tacos) CALORIES 405; FAT 14.9g (sat 6.2g, mono 4.7g, poly 1.8g); PROTEIN 40g; CARB 33g; FIBER 7g; SUGARS 7g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 89mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 477mg; CALC 87mg