DAYTON - To come home and have dinner delivered right to the front door is probably a dream come true for many busy people.
Or for those unable to cook for themselves, having dinner delivered is an ideal solution to that problem.
Lucky for many, Jessica Ruthart has started up and operates her business, Dinner At Your Door.
-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Jessica Ruthart, of Lehigh, who owns and operates Dinner at Your Door chops fruit for her apricot- glazed pork chops.
Ruthart, a Lehigh native, said she tried to leave the small town atmosphere, but she always found her way back and now wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
When she was 17, Ruthart began working for the Blue Willow Team Room in Harcourt and discovered a love for cooking.
"I worked in the kitchen, and I knew then, it was something I was interested in," Ruthart said. "But I wanted to get away, so I joined the Navy for three years."
Following her enlistment, Ruthart earned her associate degree in culinary arts from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
She later worked for various businesses but said she couldn't find her niche.
Ruthart traveled to London where she interned and found exactly she was seeking.
"The way they cared for their food, from start to finish is the way I like to cook," said Ruthart. "Around here it seems a lot of places, the food is frozen or deep fried. So I decided to start something on my own."
It has almost been a year since Ruthart started Dinner at Your Door.
She became licensed to cook out of her church last March and has been going strong ever since.
Ruthart said she tries to prepare recipes from scratch and portion them in individual meals. They are pre-cooked, delivered cold and only need to be re-heated.
"I don't know how much more simpler it can get," she said.
A big benefit to Ruthart's service is portion control.
"I make it as easy as I can for people to eat the proper portions and they are balanced meals -meals you don't feel bad about eating."
Ruthart also accommodates special dietary needs.
"I try really hard to work with people one-on-one and will go beyond my monthly menu for them," said Ruthart.
She said she reduces sodium content of her meals as much as she can and works toward making healthier meals with low fat content.
To keep sodium lowered, she likes to keep her spice inventory stocked using spices, herbs and stocks as flavoring.
"It is so much better for you and actually gives more flavor," she said. "I try not to add salt at all."
Ruthart said she typically serves the Webster County area and surrounding counties and works to keep her meals at a reasonable cost and may charge a small fee for mileage.
Right now, Ruthart said, her entrees are priced at $6.75; salads and sandwiches at $6.50 and soup for $4.
"I try really hard to keep prices reasonable," she said.
She delivers Monday through Friday, unless otherwise arranged.
Ruthart also supplements her income by selling baked goods at area farmers' markets and vendor shows and by selling goodies over the holidays.
She said she especially enjoys being creative with baked goods.
"I like to use canning jars and fill them with cupcakes, fruit crisps, peanut butter cups and others," she said.
Ruthart said she is blessed to have supportive parents, Donelle and Gayle Ruthart, as they have been an integral part of helping her with her business and her two children.
"I have an awesome family and an awesome church family," Ruthart said.