Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo and we’re celebrating with a fajita recipe from the Queen of Fajitas with guest chef, Anita Dukeman, in the CI Kitchen.

Who was she? Maria “Ninfa” Laurenzo known as Mama Ninfa.

Widowed at age 45 with 5 children to support, Ninfa started a small Mexican restaurant in Houston in 1973 and expanded her business by the 1990s to 35 restaurants scattered throughout Texas and the Southwest.

What set her apart from other owners of Mexican restaurants? She popularized beef fajitas, She was known for her fresh Mexican-style of cooking as well as her kindness and philanthropic work.

Ninfa’s Beef Fajitas


  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 skirt steaks, 3/4 inch thick (outside cut)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, then sliced 1/2-inch-thick
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 10 flour tortillas

Find the directions on Anita’s website HERE.

Connect with Anita on Facebook HERE.