Using theoretical results about the homogeneous weights for Frobenius rings, we describe the homogeneous weight for the ring family $R_k$, a recently introduced family of Frobenius rings which have been used extensively in coding theory. We find an associated Gray map for the homogeneous weight using first order Reed-Muller codes and we describe some of the general properties of the images of codes over $R_k$ under this Gray map. We then discuss quasi-twisted codes over $R_k$ and their binary images under the homogeneous Gray map. In this way, we find many optimal binary codes which are self-orthogonal and quasi-cyclic. In particular, we find a substantial number of optimal binary codes that are quasi-cyclic of index 8, 16 and 24, nearly all of which are new additions to the database of quasi-cyclic codes kept by Chen.