You probably shouldn't bring food she doesn't like... and I bet her favorites would be happily taken.
for instance, I'd have to be very polite if someone brought a lasagna over with big pepper chunks. I like lasagna but only very basic lasagna. I'll eat what I'm given because I appreciate the thought 100% but I seriously hate peppers of all kinds.
Something that they will eat and that is easy to reheat. I do stew (either beef or chicken) and rolls as a general rule. But have varied it for vegetarians, religious reasons, or food alergies. And I take into consideration any other children in the family and try to make it a meal that is kid friendly. One of the reasons I do beef or chicken stew. The ingredients can be separated out on the plate for toddlers who are notorious for not liking their food mixed up.
Our doula made us lentil soup and it was divine! Lasagna-very basic would be good. Chicken pot pie? Who doesn't love that? Corn chowder. My sister sent chocolate covered fruit :-) Maybe they'd love some fruit, nuts, cheeses and crackers etc. Any food given to us after our girls were born was much appreciated!
It's hard to say without knowing their preferences or eating habits (vegan, meat eaters, etc.) but I would aim for something that is easy to heat or freeze because I know that I recieved a ton of food and had to freeze some because we couldn't eat it all as we were getting it. Ask her for some criteria would be my best suggestion.
Our church uses this website to organize meals for new moms, people in the hospital,etc, and it works great! It doesn't give you ideas on what to cook but if you have a group of people bringing food you can keep track of what they've already rec'd & when. And if your friend has any food restrictions or preferences, those can be added for all to know.
How about a pan of baked oatmeal? Or quiche? My go to meal for new mamas is chicken paprikash. Its really rich and hearty and flavorful without being spicy. Served over buttered noodles w/a green salad. And make sure you send it in a plastic or tin container. I have lost a few pans that way and will always go the disposable route from now on.
I loved it when someone brought me soup! I had one friend who brought me 5 different kinds in small sizes (really only enough for DS1 and I for lunch). It was so nice not having to think of lunches for a few days. Fast to reheat, could just add a salad, sandwich, fruit...
I bring a variety. I start w a couple jars of homemade hot cereal mix for the crockpot. A couple high calorie snacks like tapioca pudding and homemade yogurt (made w half & half/cream). A dessert (ice cream and either brownies or cookies). And then a multi-course meal. And if mom had PPH then i concentrate on iron with dishes like molasses baked beans and red meat.
The last couple i've done have gotten Indian feasts. It's easy to make several flavors, and to make veg/part veg. Ive had a couple families w one veg one omni. I make a rice/veg dish, a veg dish, a legume dish and a meat dish. At minimum. Sometimes i do 2 veg dishes depending on what i have in the csa box.
I always ask beforehand for things to avoid, so i dont know why you would avoid broc/caul if you're not asked to.
The best meal someone brought me was with my first son and it was super basic. Ham, cheese and potato cassarole. I ate it for three days. It reheated so well and it hit the spot. I am salivating right now thinking of it.
It had ham chunks, diced potatoes, some cheddar cheese on top and held together with a cheesy white sauce. She also put buttered corn flakes or potato chips on top, but you could skip that if you wanted.
Some kind of warm potato salad with bacon in it would be divine too.
You could always go pick up a rotisserie chicken and make some mashed taters and green beans and drop it off around 4:30pm. They could eat on the chicken for a couple days. Prep a bag of washed veggies like baby carrots and cut up celery and grapes, so she can much and nurse and not worry about prepping little stuff like that.
Also, offer to do a couple loads of laundry. She'll love that more than food.
MIL made me a casserole that had chicken, broccoli, cheese, a gooey sauce, and was topped with potato chips. It was absolutely fabulous. I needed the calories as fast as I could get them and it was nice to get meat and veggies in one go.
I do burrito fixings for new families. I cook everything and package in separate containers--rice, chicken (if they eat meat), beans. Then I shred lettuce and bag it, put in a bag of shredded cheese, package of tortillas and a jar of good salsa (in the summer I'll make my own). Everyone then can choose what they want and assemble as needed. I also make spinach-feta pie in a pie crust.
One of my favorites was spaghetti.. Super simple but it was hot, filling and the only person who brought the meal somewhere close to mealtimes For some reason everyone else who offered to bring us a meal brought it around 830-9 which is way past my toddlers nap time so I still had to cook or heat something up for the family to eat because that late we are in bed. I still appreciate the food but it would have been nice to be around the time people usually eat dinner not so late that it was more of a bother (having to stay up to wait for it) than a help.
Other things Ive done/had done: chicken, broccoli and rice; lasagna (cheese, no meat, great for when you don't know if the person eats meat or not); meatball subs with extra meatballs/bread for later.. I know theres more but Im blanking.
I avoid anything with to much spice. I try to check for food preferances and what they had already eaten that week. One mother at church laughed and asked that I please don't bring over tuna noodle cassarole because the last 5 meals had all been tuna noodle cassarole with a salad. No one really WANTS to eat the same thing every day for a week even if its something easy to make. Also, I pick up some throw out pans/containers to take it home in. I still have a couple of containers from DD2s birth because I keep forgetting to take them to church. I really don't expect anyone to remember to bring me back the container when they have a newborn/small children to take care of.