Here's some help with dinner: three quick recipes that you can prep before work and cook while you are away, or do quickly once you get home.

School, work, sports and homework keep families busier than ever. With all the daily obligations, it is challenging to come up with simple dinner ideas that everyone in the family will like. Spicing up your usual routine with a quick dinner that is new and different can bring everyone together at the dinner table even if life seems to conspire against it.

Taco Rice

Anything you would normally eat on a taco can be an ingredient for taco rice. You take the typical taco fixings and put them on a bed of rice. Common ingredients are lean ground beef, taco seasonings, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, cheese and of course rice. Each member of your family selects their preferred ingredients so this meal caters to even the fussiest eaters. Cooking and prep time is minimal, especially if you use a steam cooker to prepare the rice.

Goulash Chili

Another name for this recipe might be “Canned Goulash Chili” because the majority of the ingredients come from cans. Like the taco rice recipe, this one is simple to customize for your family’s personal preferences. The main ingredients in this recipe are three cans of beans, with liquid drained, a can of corn with liquid drained, a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, a can of chopped tomatoes with chilies, lean ground beef and taco seasoning. Once you have browned the ground beef and seasoned it to taste with the taco seasoning, you put it in a large soup pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker. Add the cans of ingredients and mix them all together. Simmer this on the stove for one hour or cook it in a crock-pot for two to four hours on the high setting. You can also cook it for six to eight hours on the low setting in a crock-pot. You can vary any of the ingredients to taste and increase them if you are feeding a large crowd. Using average size cans, ranging from 10 to 16 ounces, will yield you eight to 12 servings. This meal saves in the refrigerator beautifully and goes great heated over baked potatoes the next day.

Slow Cooker Ribs

Nothing is better than meat that falls right off the bone. By putting some pork ribs in the slow cooker and covering them in a quick simple sauce, you have a delicious meal sure to please. First, make sure the ribs have no visible fat on them. Massage some black pepper into the meat, then cut it into two rib portions and put them in the slow cooker. Next, cover the ribs with your sauce of choice. The easiest sauce is one that is canned or jarred. A simple way to personalize this meal is to add some ingredients to your favorite barbecue sauce. Options for add-ins include Dijon or regular mustard to add tartness, jam or jelly to add sweetness, garlic salt, garlic paste or flakes, or anything else your taste buds desire. Cook for six to eight hours on low heat or three to four hours on high heat. Serve with some steamed rice or cooked egg noodles and vegetables to round out your meal.